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  1. #1
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    Default Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Hi teachers,
    Once I read this rule:
    When transition words are written at the beginning of asentence, use a comma to separate them from the rest of the sentence.
    But then I found this sentence, 'Not long after his breakfast
    ,he phoned her.'
    a) Isn't 'not long after' a transition word to show time?
    b) Why is the comma after breafast?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    If you imagine this as a question and answer conversation, you get:

    A: He phoned her.
    B: When did he phone her?
    A: Not long after his breakfast.

    The two statements spoken by person A are separate and distinct statements but if they are put in the same statement, they require a comma when used in one order and no comma in the other:

    1) Not long after his breakfast, he phoned her.
    2) He phoned her not long after his breakfast.

    You can't start with "Not long after, ..." because, without any other information, it would be impossible to know "after what".

    The statement of time is "Not long after his breakfast", not just "Not long after".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Hi,
    Thank you for your reply.
    This is part of the paragraph.
    Peter had to make his breakfast because Mrs. Elsie was not at home that morning. Not long after his breakfast, he phoned Kate.
    My personal thought was that because we don't have a subject and a verb immediately after the transition word, we can't use a comma atfer it, like in this one, 'After a while,
    he went downstairs.'
    Am I right?

    L.
    Last edited by learning54; 16-Oct-2012 at 17:51.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    Hi,
    Thank you for your reply.
    This is part of the paragraph.
    Peter had to make his breakfast because Mrs. Elsie was not at home this morning. Not long after his breakfast, he phoned Kate.
    My personal thought was that because we don't have a subject and a verb immediately after the transition word, we can't use a comma atfer it, like in this one, 'After a while,
    he went downstairs.'
    Am I right?

    L.
    What difference do you see between:

    Not long after his breakfast, he phoned Kate.
    and
    After a while, he went downstairs.

    In both cases, the part before the comma describes when something happened, and the part after the comma states what happened.

    What do you think is the "transition word" in those two sentences?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    learning54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    What difference do you see between:

    Not long after his breakfast, he phoned Kate.
    and
    After a while, he went downstairs.

    In both cases, the part before the comma describes when something happened, and the part after the comma states what happened.

    What do you think is the "transition word" in those two sentences?
    Hi,
    'Not long after his breakfast' and 'after a while'.
    I can also say, 'Not long after, he ate his breakfast.', can't I?

    L.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    Hi,
    'Not long after his breakfast' and 'after a while'.
    I can also say, 'Not long after, he ate his breakfast.', can't I?

    L.
    As long as "Not long after, he ate his breakfast" is preceded by whatever he did shortly before eating his breakfast, then yes.

    "He took a shower. Not long after, he ate his breakfast."

    Effectively, what you are saying is "He took a shower. Not long after taking a shower, he ate his breakfast".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is there always a comma after a transition word?

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for all your replies; it's very clear. No further questions.

    L.

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