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I have difficulty in understanding which of the following is correct:

Team cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors which are teams’ makeup and teams’ performance.

or

Team cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors , which are teams’ makeup and teams’ performance.

I was heard some years ago if we already introduce the noun of the sentence we do not need "," or something like that. I do not remember exactly that's why I asked this question.

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  • Why do people say "I was heard" so often. Is that grammatically correct? – SovereignSun Mar 27 '17 at 16:13
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The comma is placed there because in spoken English a native speaker would pause there. The pause signals that the following phrase helps to further explain the previous idea which could stand alone.

"Teams cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors." is a complete sentence. It is followed by a dependent clause that helps to further explain the idea, "Which are teams' makeup and teams' performance."

"Which are teams' makeup and teams' performance," would be a complete sentence except that it depends on the clause that came immediately before it. The dependent clause would not make sense on its own because the reader wouldn't know what 'Which' is referring too. However, it has a subject and a verb making it structured like a sentence.

If there was no pause the listener would have (slight) difficulty picking the two sentences apart.

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  • Thanks but have some sentences which are somehow similar and they do not have "," I was heard some years ago if we already introduce the noun of the sentence we do not need "," or something like that. I do not remember exactly that's why I asked this question. – MFR Jan 20 '17 at 3:22
  • This might interest you: quora.com/Should-I-not-put-a-comma-before-which-or-before-that Seems like that explains what you're referring to. I would like to say though that these rules are just made up, there is not usually one "correct" way to say something. Unless you're in a specific context, like writing a college essay, where there are arbitrary restrictions that a teacher will grade you on. – Joe Pinsonault Jan 20 '17 at 6:25
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The comma is not there to slow the reader down. That's not the point of a comma in English. Many think it is, but it is certainly not.

which are teams’ makeup and teams’ performance.

This is a dependent clause. This means it can't stand alone, because it doesn't express a complete thought.

This specific clause is an adjective clause. This means it describes something, which is what an adjective does.

Teams cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors, which are teams’ makeup and teams’ performance.

In this example, it's describing the two factors.

So, to answer your question, the comma is used before which because the which clause isn't important to the sentence. The sentence would make perfect sense if you were to say it like this:

Teams cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors.

You wouldn't know what the factors are, but the sentence does make sense.

A better way of writing this sentence would be to use a colon. The colon requires a full thought before it, which is exactly what is happening in your example.

Here it is with a colon:

Teams cannot be fully discussed without considering two factors: teams’ makeup and teams’ performance.

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  • Welcome to ELL, 001. Your answer is well thought out and explained, but it would be nice to see some links to references- particularly concerning the usage of the comma before the dependent clause. – JavaLatte Mar 27 '17 at 17:11

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