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In the sentence below, should there be a comma after "President"?

John comes to RNW from the Office of the President, where he supported the RanTech systems for the last 20 years.

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    It helps clarifying the sentence and makes it easier to read. It wouldn't be incorrect or incomplete without the comma, but it surely is better with it. Feb 2 at 22:05
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    I think without the comma (without a pause inspeech), what we have looks/sounds like a restrictive clause - which implies multiple "Offices of the President", but we're singling out the specific one where "he" (John or the President, it's ambiguous) supported RanTech. In the real world that's simply not a possibility, but you still need the comma even though in practice there's no scope for being misunderstood. You've only got to think what it would sound like if you didn't pause in the spoken version - it certainly wouldn't sound like "normal English". Feb 3 at 13:07

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Yes, the comma should be there, because the information in the clause that follows is parenthetical - said in addition to the main part of what you are saying or writing. The 'rule' is that a comma should precede "where" if removing the clause would leave a complete and unambiguous sentence.

This parenthetical clause could also be written using parenthesis (brackets), or deleted entirely, and it would still be grammatical:

John comes to RNW from the Office of the President (where he supported the RanTech systems for the last 20 years).

John comes to RNW from the Office of the President.

You would also add a second parenthetical comma after the clause if you were to continue with a conjunction. For example:

John comes to RNW from the Office of the President, where he supported the RanTech systems for the last 20 years, and brings all his experience with him.

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I think there should be a comma, because it provides a natural break between the main topic and the supporting context of the idea the sentence communicates.

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The comma is necessary.

In general, if the the clause is restrictive, meaning it specifies which, what, or who from among a possible set a noun refers to, do not use a comma. In these cases, the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

I want food that is both tasty and healthy.

This is the man who robbed me!

However, if the the clause is there to provide additional information, and the meaning of the sentence would be about the same without out, you must use a comma.

This past weekend's storms, which caused thousands of dollars of damage, were the worse our county has seen in a year.

I'm returning from Oklahoma, where I visited with family.

Notice that in the last two examples, the meaning of the words around the phrase separated by commas does not change if the phrase separated by commas is removed.

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