Commas and Introductory Words

Cathleen Townsend

mountain lion commaCommas should be used not only after introductory phrases, but after introductory words as well. It’s a simple-seeming rule, but as always, the permutations can be frustrating.

I have to admit my googling netted me a disappointing catch on this one. I was hoping that some grammar geek had compiled a list of at least the most common introductory words, but alas, this does not seem to be the case.

Introductory words can take several forms, but in all cases they are not necessary for meaning in the sentence. They’re an extra. And extras, whether words, phrases, or clauses, are set off from the rest of the sentence when they come at the beginning of the sentence. Some are not set off when they come later–for more information, read my posts on introductory clauses and phrases.

Common introductory words are adverbs, interjections (including affirmation or negation–most commonly yes and…

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