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The unusual depressive mood that Chisato had been experiencing lately(,) prevented her from going to school.

Do I need that comma? Why or why not? Or maybe it's optional?

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  • 1
    You don't need it. But you can use it to indicate a brief pause.
    – user178049
    May 25 '17 at 6:43
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    No, the subject in full is The unusual depressive mood that Chisato had been experiencing lately. The rule is that a subject should not be separated from its verb by a comma. It's inadmissible, i.e. ungrammatical.
    – BillJ
    May 25 '17 at 6:45
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    I agree with @BillJ. Try simplifying the subject to "her mood" and you'll notice a comma would be very weird and awkward. "her mood(,) prevented her from going to school". both "the unusual depressive" and "that Chisato had been experiencing lately" are complementing the subject, which is "the/her mood". (not making this into an answer because i have very little idea of actual english grammar and naming of things...)
    – Brian H.
    May 25 '17 at 9:21
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    And of course non-defining (non-restrictive) relative clauses are always of the wh type. Non-restrictive that relatives are not (normally) permitted.
    – BillJ
    May 25 '17 at 9:36
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The unusual depressive mood that Chisato had been experiencing lately, prevented her from going to school.

No, you don't need to put a comma before the verb "prevented".

"that Chisato had been experiencing lately" is a relative defining clause. This clause gives essential information about Chisato who is being referred to. You don't use a comma before and after the relative defining clause.

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  • You don't use comma before and after a defining relative clause. Consider this, "I don't know the problem that you are facing, but I promise I will help you".
    – user178049
    May 25 '17 at 9:03
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    @user178049, There's no relative defining clause in your sentence.
    – Khan
    May 25 '17 at 9:35
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    @user178049 Khan is right. "That you are facing" is not a relative clause, but a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question). It means "I don't know the answer to the question 'What problem are you facing?'".
    – BillJ
    May 25 '17 at 9:42
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Well, in fact, I'd use two instead of just one comma, and the sentence would be: 'The unusual depressive mood, that Chisato had been experiencing lately, prevented her from going to school.'

The 'that Chisato had been experiencing lately' part is non-essential, so you use enclosing commas.

Not using any commas is not an option, since it makes reading more difficult. You can understand the sentence anyway, but commas help you read and understand any text more easily.

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    That's a ridiculous error! The relative clause that Chisato had been experiencing lately is defining (restrictive), i.e. essential, so there must be no commas. In any case, non-defining relative clauses can never be introduced by "that", but only by a wh pronoun, like "which" or "who".
    – BillJ
    May 25 '17 at 6:58

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