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Which one is correct? Should I use a comma after "away" or not?

She looks away thinking.

She looks away, thinking.

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  • Where is the idiom or phrasal verb here?
    – stangdon
    Apr 11, 2022 at 15:31
  • @stangdon I edited the post's title to make it more accurate. Apr 11, 2022 at 23:53

1 Answer 1

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The correct one is: She looks away, thinking.

A comma denotes a moment of pause in a sentence that can be used to separate ideas or grammatical structures. Commas can be used in several different ways. Separating parallel adjectives, setting off nonrestrictive phrases, separating items in a list, and separating an introductory phrase from the rest of a sentence are some illustrations of common uses.

Incorrect

Prior to the scandal the governor’s approval rating was high.

Correct

Prior to the scandal, the governor’s approval rating was high.

Incorrect

He was a difficult stubborn child.

Correct

He was a difficult, stubborn child.

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    I disagree with your assertion that it's "incorrect" not to have a comma after a "fronted" adverbial clause like Prior to the scandal. Syntactically, that's no different to most written instances of Before that we lived [somewhere else] - where I haven't made any attempt to count them up, but I'd guess it's far more common not to include a comma. Such commas are only there to reflect pauses in speech - so if you wouldn't pause there, no comma should be used. Apr 11, 2022 at 15:12
  • There are many different notions regarding these terms. However, as a non-native speaker, I try to be cautious and post anything based on a proper reference; I used the Rules for comma blog reference and not my personal opinion. @FumbleFingers Apr 11, 2022 at 16:32
  • If those "rules" are what caused you to make your incorrect assertion as flagged up above, they're not helpful. To be honest, though, I've no idea whether the fact of not being a native Anglophone means it's meaningless for you to consider whether you'd introduce a pause in speech within utterances like this. Apr 11, 2022 at 17:01
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    @FumbleFingers " Such commas are only there to reflect pauses in speech". No, that it very much not true. Commas are governed by grammatical rules. And it is incorrect to not put commas after fronted adverbial phrases. If you want to make a descriptivist argument that "lots of people don't put a comma in", okay, but prescriptively, it is incorrect. Moreover, including the comma makes it easier to read. Apr 12, 2022 at 1:51
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    We don't speak the Newspeak. However, we felt some fullwise plusungoods which is hard to believe to the oldspeakers. As an example, telescreen is real. Apr 12, 2022 at 9:10

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