One guy has posted this quote from Frankenstein novel and asked about the meaning of some phrases:

The room was dark, and at first I could only see a mass of wires, glass bottles and jars, and copper and glass pipes. Here and there the blue light of the burners made holes in the darkness. And from those places the sound of boiling liquids could be heard.

As my eyes began to see better in the half-darkness I saw that this stuff was arranged round a kind of bath in the middle of the room with a wooden work-table that went all the way round it. Frankenstein was watching me. There was still this strange excitement in his eyes. 'Go on,' he said, 'look inside. See what I have made.'

After reading the first phrase in the second paragraph I wondered if there should be a comma after the word "half-darkness". I don't remember the rule, and, frankly, never understood it completely in the first place. Also, Mary Shelley, being a native English speaker, probably understood the English punctuation a lot better than I do. So, here is my question.

Should there be a comma after "As my eyes began to see better in the half-darkness"?

  • Yes, it seems like there should have been one
    – Bella Swan
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


Yes, there should. "As my eyes began to see better in the half-darkness" is a dependent clause; i.e. it cannot stand on its own as a sentence. It should therefore have a comma after it, because it comes before the clause it depends on.

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