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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"

  • 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. – Ronald Sole May 26 '18 at 23:36
  • @RonaldSole What about an If ... then sentence? If you do jump too high, you'll break your leg. – GC_ May 28 '18 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. – Ronald Sole May 28 '18 at 9:55
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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.

  • What about the cause and effect aspect? Does that count for anything? – GC_ May 28 '18 at 20:49
  • @GC_: Could you explain what you mean a little bit more? Yes, because indicates a cause or reason. – Cerberus May 28 '18 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 '18 at 12:09
  • I am not a grammar expert, so your probably right. – GC_ Jun 14 '18 at 12:10

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