Mobile menu

Are commas always needed?
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 00:32
Aug 19, 2007

Dear colleagues,

Given the adverb is put at the beginning of a sentence, do I always need a comma before the subject? Below are a few examples to illustrate my question:

In Munich(,) you can find the best beer garden in Bavaria.

Between 1663 and 1806(,) the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire assembled regularly in Regensburg.

With his help(,) I was able to complete my assignment earlier.

The grammar I learned is that I need a comma in this case. But I do encounter some English texts, where no comma is applied.

Thanks!
Bin


Direct link Reply with quote
 

patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Here's a really good source... Aug 20, 2007

It's a style guide from the European Commission.

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/translation/writing/style_guides/english/style_guide_en.pdf


Here's part of what it says about commas which relates to your question:

Note, though, that short introductory phrases need not have any separate emphasis of their own, i.e. they may be run into the rest of the sentence.
Both the following are possible:
In 2003, the committee took three decisions.
In 2003 the committee took three decisions.


Hope it helps...



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rosanna Palermo  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:32
Member (2006)
Italian to English

MODERATOR
Think about it this way..maybe it will help Aug 25, 2007

a comma is a pause, a reflection, the opportunity for the reader to stop and assimilate what was said so far; look as the phrase that follows:

1) Some languages, such as Italian, are riddled with commas as they constantly refer to statements that have already been made or are yet to be made or are, per se, implied.

"such as italian" is really - such as italian - (ex. Italian)
what I could have said was
(or are per se implied)

2) Italian is one of those languages that are riddled with commas, constantly referring to statements..

The second version is more english whereas the first more italian in style.

My rule of thumb is: do you really need to pause?
A phrase has a subject a verb and adjectives. I try to keep all of them together as clearly and cleanly as possible.
If i read it and I don't think it should stop there, I omit the comma.

It's a fine line and truly a judgement call on your part. Do keep in mind that customers sometimes specify that the style of the writer should be kept - and the useless commas with it - therefore I always check with the client first and say things like:
"is it ok to streamline the text?It does not really flow in english."

Keep at it and it will be quite natural in a while.
Good luck and welcome to the site!
)

rfmoon
(Rosy)


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxSpring City  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Chinese to English
+ ...
Commas can slow the reader down Aug 26, 2007

patyjs wrote:

It's a style guide from the European Commission.

http://ec.europa.eu/comm/translation/writing/style_guides/english/style_guide_en.pdf


Here's part of what it says about commas which relates to your question:

Note, though, that short introductory phrases need not have any separate emphasis of their own, i.e. they may be run into the rest of the sentence.
Both the following are possible:
In 2003, the committee took three decisions.
In 2003 the committee took three decisions.


Hope it helps...












Er? The European Union? Is it not known for its poor English? [For example, the UK, not having joined the single-currency zone, is declared by the EU to be a "pre-in".]

In this case, they are right. Commas do not have to be overdone. Too many slow the reader down.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mark Cole  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:32
Polish to English
+ ...
It also depends on the complexity of the sentence Aug 27, 2007

Going by "gut feel" alone, I would omit the comma in the first and third sentences and put one in the second sentence. The reason is that the first and third are relatively simple, while the second sentence is grammatically more complex and the comma breaks it up into more manageable "chunks", making the sense easier to digest.
In fact I could have not used any commas in my previous two sentences, but this would have made them less clear. It is therefore often a matter of being reader-friendly rather than adhering to strict grammatical rules.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Are commas always needed?

Advanced search


Translation news





SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs