Student or Learner
I am wondering if I need a comma in such kind of sentences?
1. Finally his dream has come true and he found a job. ( Do I need a comma after "finally"?)
2. Suddenly the door opened and the stranger stepped inside. (Do I need a comma after "suddenly"?)
3. Walking the street one winter morning the old woman slipped on the icy street and broke her leg. ( Do I need a comma after "morning?")
4. Suddenly there was a commotion in the crowd, and people started to run away.(Do I need a comma after "suddenly"?)
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
I agree with Barb's suggestions, and with her opening words. Others might use a comma in all four sentences. We are fairly flexible about commas in sentences such as yours. For me, the key question is, "Is it easier to read with the comma?" If the answer is "yes", then I use one.
In the fairly short sentence below, for example, I think a comma is essential. Without it, you might think at first that Peter spoke to Mary and John.
Peter spoke to Mary, and John spoke to Jane.
Last edited by 5jj; 18-Oct-2011 at 14:31. Reason: clarification
NOT A TEACHER
(1) As the moderator (a professional writer) told you, it is often a matter of style.
(2) Since we non-teachers are allowed to give our two cents, may I give you my recommendations?
(a) Finally his dream has come true and he [has] found a job. (I would not use any comma. It would slow things down. I would also add the "has" for a smoother and more grammatically correct reading.)
(b) Suddenly, the door opened, and the stranger came in. (I would use two commas. I think that a pause after "opened" makes the sentence more "dramatic" by slowing down the action.)
(c) Walking down the street one winter morning, the old woman slipped on the icy street and broke her hip. (I agree with the moderator that you definitely need a comma after "morning." Otherwise, the reader would run out of breath.)
(d) Suddenly, there was a commotion in the crowd, and people started to run away.
(I feel that a comma after "suddenly" gives a dramatic emphasis to "suddenly.")
Thank you all for your valuable explanations and advice.