comma

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Ju

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"Over the past 7 weeks they have been working in small groups to devise and write their own short pieces, which will be performed to an examiner from England."

I found the above sentence from a magazine. Should I put a comma after Over the past 7 weeks ?

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probus

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No. Unless you want to sound Victorian. I wage a constant and often losing war to rid my writing of such needless commas.
 
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5jj

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I don't agree with you entirely, probus. Commas in such cases may not be essential always, but they can sometimes be very useful.

Over the last seven weeks, time has passed very slowly for me.
Next year, last year will seem like a bad dream.
 

Raymott

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I agree it's unnecessary in the original sentence, but may be useful in a different sentence starting the same way, as 5jj has indicated. I also tend to overuse commas, I guess to make it easier for learners. The first comma in my first sentence is not really necessary, but the second one is.
 

5jj

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I think that, some commas are really wrong (that one was). A comma which is incorrectly placed, is confusing (as that one was). However, like Raymott, I find an occasional non-essential comma can make life easier, and not just for learners.
 
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