I have seen people put a comma right after an em dash. Is this practice correct? I guess it is not, since the em dash takes the place of the comma.


Swan's PEU describes this. The em-dash does not take comma after it. That's because, as you said it correctly, it replaces a comma so you don't need to put it again.

An em-dash may replace commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses to indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought.

Grammarbook gives us an example of em-dash replacing comma:

You are the one, the only one, who offered to help me.
You are the friend—the only friend—who offered to help me.

Here are the other examples.

I need three items at the store—dog food, vegetarian chili, and cheddar cheese (colon)
I wish you would—oh, never mind (abrupt change)

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  • But if you have a dependent clause that has an interruption at the end of it—such as this one—, wouldn't it still make sense to have a comma? The em dash can't replace a comma unless in an interruption, so in this case it feels like there is still a need for a comma. – Brendan Wagner Mar 25 '19 at 16:42
  • That is not an interruption, it is a parenthetical. Use of a comma in such a construction is at least non-standard and not required. – David Siegel Mar 25 '19 at 16:59

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