Suppose a girl left my room and while leaving, she was smiling. Then which of the following should I use?

1. She left my room smiling.


2. She left my room, smiling.

Should I use comma ? Actually adding a comma makes me think that first the girl smiled and then left my room and the time difference between two actions is very less and that's why I use present participle form rather than perfect participle. Please clear my confusion.

  • 2
    It depends what you are trying to say. If you have managed to cheer the girl up so that she arrived in tears but left the room smiling, you don't need a comma. If you are just saying that she left the room and happened to be smiling at the time, you can use the comma. Jul 23, 2022 at 14:13
  • The first has the odd connotation that rooms can smile. It would probably vanish in a paragraph of context, but standing alone, there is no precedent for your brain to naturally attach to except the room itself. [A similar effect can be seen in the other two questions you asked today, which I'm finding in reverse order.] Jul 24, 2022 at 7:32

2 Answers 2


There is no way the first option can be misinterpreted, so a comma is unnecessary. Both options are fine.

That being said, the nuances Kate Bunting describes in their comment still stand.


While the use of commas is largely a matter of personal preference, in your example, you need a comma. It serves to indicate the obvious pause that's intended after room. It also makes it clear that smiling modifies she and not room.

The same indicated pause would be required if you reversed the sentence: Smiling, she left the room.

You would not require a comma if the sentence read: She left the room upstairs, where upstairs is being used as an adjective to describe the room.

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