The Appendage Comma with

Linking Adverbs


Among its six uses, the appendage comma inserts a pause between a linking adverb and the main thought of a sentence.

Use the Comma with Linking Adverbs

Linking adverbs and adverbial phrases connect independent clauses, including sentences. Common linking adverbs include:

Use an appendage comma with these when they occur at the start or end of a sentence. And use a comma pair around ones that appear in the midst of a sentence:

Emilio’s waffling. However,I approve of the plan.
Emilio can’t decide. I,however,approve.
Emilio remains ambivalent. I approve,however.
Don’t Use It after a Coordinating Conjunction that Starts a Sentence

When the conjunction for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so begins a sentence as a transition from the previous sentence, it does not use an appendage comma the way a linking adverb would:

I’ve no idea what Emilio will choose. But I approve.


Linking Adverb or Coordinating Conjunction—What’s the Difference?

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Linking Adverb or Coordinating Conjunction—What’s the Difference?

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Because of their single-syllable size, coordinating conjunctions naturally flow quickly into the main thought of a sentence. This is why we don’t use the appendage comma with them—the comma signals a paused separation that clashes with the quick conjunction.

This offers writers two ways of transitioning. On the one hand, you could use a linking adverb with an appendage comma to create a pause in reading that emphasizes the transition. Or use a coordinating conjunction to move swiftly into the sentence.

Knowledge Check

From the Comma Q & A Blog

Linking Adverbs

Should we use a comma after “But” at the beginning of a sentence?

Usually, you wouldn’t use a comma after “but” at the start of a sentence. Because of their short length, coordinating conjunctions, such as “but” or “and,” naturally flow quickly into the…

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