Hi there. In Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers, Fourth Canadian Edition, I read something that amazed me like a swimming cat. Namely, the authors wrote that I should not use a comma when a subordinate clause follows the independent clause. Are not commas used with many such sentences with subordinating conjunctions such as because, as, since, (al)though or even though, so (that), provided that, whereas, etc.? I just can't believe this is a rule!
All the best,
Last edited by nyggus; 10-Dec-2006 at 16:16. Reason: Changed 'coordinating to subordinating'
That said, one would hardly ever use a comma before the conjunctions on that list.
He quit his job because the boss wouldn't listen to his opinions.
He said he would return if the boss changed his ways.
The boss said he would talk to personal so that the policy would be stated more clearly.
"Provided" is the conjunction, not "provided that". I would be more likely to use a comma before this one than the others you listed, but that would depend on the length of the clause.
He will come provided that you come also.
The lawyers said that the contracts would be signed, provided that the two parties have adequate time to work out their differences.
Last edited by MikeNewYork; 11-Dec-2006 at 04:57.
OK, get your point. I suppose that if the independent part (which may consist of more than one independent clauses) of a sentence is complex, it is posible that a comma may need to be used before a subordinating conjuction. So often you can find a comma before because and so that, and these two always (I am right, ain't I?) introduce dependent clauses.
As for the provided that, the reference book I cited in the first post of this thread give it is a subordinating conjuction, so it was not my idea--another thing to discuss!
Thanks, MNY, for your help.
I have looked through some references for this problem. Michael Swan in his "Practical English Usage" gives that in short sentences one should not use a comma; however, if a sentence is long or complex, a comma should be used. But, interestingly, I found there a sentence, "I liked him, so I tried to help." Would you tell this is a long or a complex sentence? I don't think so. Why, then, did he use a comma there?
It's often a matter of personal choice with punctuation and trying to make hard and fast rules can break down in many cases. It's not a long sentence and you would be able to find people who wouldn't use a camma there, but there are two clear clauses.