300 Days of Better Writing

May 26, 2010

Commas with Introductory Phrases


An introductory adverbial phrase is a phrase at the beginning of the sentence (introductory) that tells something about the main verb (adverbial), such as when it occurred, how, or to what degree. Consider this sentence.

“After reading the newspaper, John felt relaxed.”

The phrase “after reading the newspaper” tells when John felt relaxed. This phrase is an introductory adverbial phrase. It is at the beginning of the sentence (introductory), and it tells something about the main verb (adverbial) “felt.” Here’s another example.

“Yesterday, he visited his mother.”

In this example, the word “Yesterday” serves as an introductory adverbial phrase telling about the action “visited.” As such, it is followed by a comma.

(This is the tip for day 83 in 300 Days of Better Writing, also available at Hostile Editing in PDF and Kindle formats.

For a sample of 300 Days of Better Writing and other books by Precise Edit, download the free ebook.)

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