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I just wrote this sentence (shortened, so not literally) on a different StackExchange site:

Of course it's very easy to purge the exact packages which have been installed by that if you still have the output.

Should the be a comma after "Of course"? Had I written something like "Evidently, it's very easy to ...", I'd feel like there should be a comma in there. But the above sentence doesn't feel right with a comma nor does it feel right without one.

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  • I think it can go either way, but the meaning of "of course" changes slightly with or without the comma.
    – J.R.
    Sep 17, 2016 at 21:26
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    @J.R. Could you please explain the difference in the meaning of "of course" with and without the comma? Sep 18, 2016 at 4:54
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    @Anonymous - See 32a and 32b. It's just a matter of personal opinion, of course, but I think the O.P.'s sentence reads slightly differently with or without the comma.
    – J.R.
    Sep 18, 2016 at 6:57
  • I don't think the meaning changes very much. A more a matter of emphasis.
    – J.R.
    Sep 18, 2016 at 16:10

1 Answer 1

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The meaning is the same either way. However, when writing sentences - especially when writing something formal such as an essay - one should use commas after their transition word or phrase that starts a new sentence.

For example, notice how I started this sentence with my transition phrase "for example" and put a comma after it? Of course, commas are useful for starting sentences out, as well as breaking up the thoughts in a single sentence.

I italicized the transition words/phrases above. Here is a site with phrases if you want to know how to add variety to your words. It's divided into different categories.

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  • I think you should use a better example, because it feels wrong to start a sentence with "for example" without the comma, whereas "of course" feels different. I am a native speaker and usually I can figure out a reason, but I can't figure out one here.
    – user21820
    Apr 10 at 13:01

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