1. He is picky about food so he only eats what he likes.
  2. He is picky about food, so he only eats what he likes.

Which one is correct? Do we have to put a comma before 'so' or not?


Punctuation should be understood as being less about "rules" than about "clarity". In this case, the comma is optional. A comma is generally used before a conjunction that links two independent clauses, as is the case here. However the two clauses are quite short and we often omit the comma in this case.

You may use a comma here, if you feel it improves clarity. You may omit it if you feel it is unnecessary.

  • 5
    And your last two sentences demonstrate this perfectly! – Johnny Apr 15 at 9:43
  • To emphasize: this is purely a matter of taste, and different educated English writers will chose differently. (I would always use the comma but I tend to use a lot of commas). – Martin Bonner Apr 15 at 10:05
  • 5
    @Johnny I don't think that is an accident. – Martin Bonner Apr 15 at 10:06
  • @MartinBonner … but if you don't think, [comma!] that is an accident :) – alephzero Apr 15 at 10:24
  • 4
    @MartinBonner, nor do I, just thought I'd put a neon sign over it in case it was too subtle for some learners! 😊 – Johnny Apr 15 at 12:25

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