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Under our Sverdlovsk Beef brand, we produce marbled beef from Aberdeen bulls brought to Russia from Scotland.

Is comma obligatory after "brand", or could this prepositional phrase be left without a comma?

I googled and found the following rule on a website:

When the prepositional introductory phrase is short (less than 3-4 word), the comma can be omitted, but it is not wrong to use it.

Does it apply here?

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Any adverbial prefix (adverb, prepositional phrase, participle phrase, clause, etc) can be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

Yesterday, the weather was good.

The comma is optional but, the longer the adverbial, the more important it is to do so: the comma makes a long adverbial prefix easier to parse.

I would regard the 'rule' that you quoted as a guideline (c.f. the pirate's code) rather than a rule. It's a good guideline, though, and I recommend that you stick to it where possible.

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No, that 'rule' wouldn't apply to your example because it states it applies only when the introductory phrase is 4 words or fewer, and yours has 5.

The good news is that this 'rule' isn't universal, just a style guide, of which there are many. Any organisation that puts out written material from different writers may have their own style guide to bring a degree of consistency throughout their publications.

In cases like this where the comma is optional, consider how it sounds when spoken and how a comma might help break it down to be better understood.

Also remember that you can always swap the phrases around to omit the comma, for example:

We produce marbled beef from Aberdeen bulls brought to Russia from Scotland under our Sverdlovsk Beef brand.

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  • Or even "our Sverdlovsk Beef brand produces marbled beef from Aberdeen bulls brought to Russia from Scotland." Note: this might change the meaning of the phrase if the product was not produced by the company, but was relabeled/rebranded under your brand. – Nigel Touch Feb 24 at 14:58

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