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In this sentence, should there be a comma before because:

A file was excluded because it cannot be updated.

Part of me thinks cause and effect should have a comma.

This effect happens, because of this cause.

However, this would also be a defining clause. See: Comma before "because"

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  • I can see no reason that justifies a comma here. If you were writing for a newsreader and you particularly wanted a pause after excluded, you might use some device such as a comma or hyphen. But grammatically it's redundant. May 26, 2018 at 23:36
  • @RonaldSole What about an If ... then sentence? If you do jump too high, you'll break your leg.
    – GC_
    May 28, 2018 at 1:26
  • I would use a comma there because it makes the sense clearer. Although there are lots of rules regarding comma use (as in: en.oxforddictionaries.com/punctuation/comma) there are often contexts where they are optional and it comes down to personal preference. May 28, 2018 at 9:55
  • A comma is only necessary to interrupt a flow when you don't want a flow.
    – Lambie
    2 days ago

1 Answer 1

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I believe most style books would qualify the comma as optional in this case. Leaving it out would not result in ambiguity, nor would the comma result in undue separation of main clause from subordinate clause. In short, the comma makes no difference. So write it if you want place extra emphasis on the main clause as an independent statement (not a formal term), or omit it at your convenience.

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  • What about the cause and effect aspect? Does that count for anything?
    – GC_
    May 28, 2018 at 20:49
  • @GC_: Could you explain what you mean a little bit more? Yes, because indicates a cause or reason.
    – Cerberus
    May 28, 2018 at 21:37
  • I thought one of my teachers insisted sentences like, "Blah blah blah happened, because blah blah blah," always requires a comma before the because.
    – GC_
    Jun 14, 2018 at 12:09
  • I am not a grammar expert, so your probably right.
    – GC_
    Jun 14, 2018 at 12:10

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