[Grammar] comma + especially when or especially if

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donnach

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I don't think the wording or comma in the example sentence below is acceptable in academic writing because when is a subordinating conjunction, and commas don't precede subordinating conjunctions.

1. Is this opinion true?

2. Does 'especially' modify the word 'when' in the sentence below?

Example: I like peanunt M&Ms, especially when I can find them on sale.

Thanks,

Donna
 

5jj

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I think the sentence is much better with the comma. Commas frequently precede subordinating conjunctions. Who told you they didn't?

The wording is a little strange - one's liking of a product does not normally depend on its availability.
 

donnach

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I've read several places that commas don't precede subordinating conjunctions, but they must precede coordinating conjunctions. I'm surprised about this.
 

JohnParis

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Supporting rules of grammar with citations adds weight to any discussion. Simply saying "I've read in a lot of places" is not as convincing as providing opinions from sources that are open to peer review. The professor that restated the following rule lives and teaches in Kansas, USA. In terms of language, one cannot get more American than the AmE of Kansas.


The comma precedes the coordinating conjunction. A common error is to place the comma after the conjunction:

WRONG: We picked them up early but, they still missed their plane.
RIGHT: We picked them up early, but they still missed their plane.

WRONG: I hadn't seen my nieces and nephews for ages so, I went overboard on buying them Christmas gifts.
RIGHT:I hadn't seen my nieces and nephews for ages, so I went overboard on buying them Christmas gifts.

WRONG: Do you want to stay behind or, will you come with us?
RIGHT: Do you want to stay behind, or will you come with us?


Commas with Compound Sentences


John
 

donnach

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he comma precedes the coordinating conjunction. A common error is to place the comma after the conjunction:

WRONG:We picked them up early but, they still missed their plane.
RIGHT:We picked them up early, but they still missed their plane.

WRONG:I hadn't seen my nieces and nephews for ages so, I went overboard on buying them Christmas gifts.
RIGHT:I hadn't seen my nieces and nephews for ages, so I went overboard on buying them Christmas gifts.

WRONG: Do you want to stay behind or, will you come with us?
RIGHT: Do you want to stay behind, or will you come with us?


What's all this about? My post says that the comma must precede the subordinating conjunction.

And I've come across the statement so many times that a main clause followed by a subordinate clause does not take a comma that I didn't think it necessary to copy and paste something from the internet, but whatever, here you go:


When the dependent clause is placed first in a sentence, use a comma between the two clauses. When the independent clause is placed first and the dependent clause second, do not separate the two clauses with a comma.
CONJUNCTIONS
 

Barb_D

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I think the sentence is much better with the comma. Commas frequently precede subordinating conjunctions. Who told you they didn't?

The wording is a little strange - one's liking of a product does not normally depend on its availability.

Off-topic, as a note for our BrE friends. In the US, "on sale" means at a reduced price.
 

jahildebrandt

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Off-topic, as a note for our BrE friends. In the US, "on sale" means at a reduced price.
True, but that doesn't really relate to 5jj's point that one's liking of a product isn't really influenced by price. I think the meaning of the sentence is best described:

I like peanut M&Ms.
I especially like when peanut M&Ms are on sale.


And not that a person's actual liking of peanut M&Ms is dependent on when they're on sale.
 

Barb_D

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Well, we really are getting off topic, but 5jj didn't say anything about being influenced by price. My emphasis added:
one's liking of a product does not normally depend on its availability.

A BrE user is likely to think of "on sale" the way an American thinks of "for sale." I was trying to show how the original sentence show price influence, not availability influence.

And sure people can like things a bit better when they're cheaper. I really like Take 5 candy bars, but I like Swedish Fish too. I like them both a lot. But if I walk into CVS and find that Take 5s are part of a buy-one-get-one sale, I'll choose those. I like them even better when they're cheap.
 

Barb_D

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Then what do you think the original sentence means?
 

JohnParis

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I've read several places that commas don't precede subordinating conjunctions, but they must precede coordinating conjunctions. I'm surprised about this.

I'm sorry. I misinterpreted your surprise.
 

5jj

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Off-topic, as a note for our BrE friends. In the US, "on sale" means at a reduced price.
It's on-topic! If I had known that, I would not have made my comment about the wording being strange. It clearly isn't strange in AmE.

Thanks.
 

jahildebrandt

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And the phrasing "I especially like them" doesn't mean to you that you like them a little bit better when they are cheaper?
I like [STRIKE]peanunt M&Ms,[/STRIKE] especially when I can find them on sale.

It's not especially like them, it's especially like when.

One likes peanut M&Ms. One likes deals. A + B = C. While one's satisfaction may increase into a higher overall satisfaction, it comes from two different parts. I'm just arguing that A and B are independent variables and that B does not influence the preference for A.
 
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