From a lang-8 post:

Have no doubt, the weather will be warmer in April.

Is comma necessary after "have no doubt"? I feel like it's needed there, but I'm not sure.

And what do we call this part of the sentence? A comment clause? Looks like an imperative clause to me, akin to "Make no mistake (about it)".

An "imperative comment clause" then?

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    When I read the sentence aloud with and without the comma, I get two entirely different results. Without a comma it winds up sounding reassuring, as if someone were concerned about the weather and I were replying. With a comma (and the associated pause) it sounds like I'm proclaiming my confidence in April's weather. That's just my personal reading of the line though, to be clear. Jan 28, 2015 at 12:46

2 Answers 2


In the speech of a native speaker, there would be a major syntactic pause after Have no doubt as well as other intonational contours to give the clause definition, separating it from the second clause. A comma would reflect these facts, and is therefore not only allowed but recommended.

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    I have noticed the answers in which you link a spoken pause with a corresponding comma in the same written utterance. But I wonder do you have support for the blanket application of this rule? Or that this is the main reason why commas are used in written English? Because ISTM that commas serve in written language more to separate elements of sentences than to indicate where a speaker pauses. In Mary traveled to Seattle, Washington, before going on to California I do not think the speaker necessarily makes a pause at either point of the comma. And also in I have a cat, a dog, and a mouse.
    – user6951
    Jan 29, 2015 at 7:32
  • Texts are virtual language. Text tries to represent language in a silent, persistent medium not subject to the time-constraints of evanescent speech. Apart from the grammatical rules that govern the language represented on the page, there are no "rules" in text, merely orthographic and typographic conventions. The purpose of punctuation is clarity. If the language itself is clear, its clauses well-formed according to grammatical rules, a textual representation that draws attention to the spoken contours will be clear. No punctuation can lift a malformed ungrammatical sentence into clarity. Jan 29, 2015 at 11:38
  • Furthermore, "major syntactic pauses" typically coincide with what you have called the "elements of sentences", by which I assume you mean its clauses and the phrases within them. Jan 29, 2015 at 11:40
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    And I wrote "syntactic pause". You can use commas for other purposes if you deem it appropriate (Seattle, Washington). But to leave out a comma at a major syntactic break|pause would cause far greater issues for readers than to leave it out between Seattle and Washington. Jan 29, 2015 at 16:19
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    Discussion of the diachronic development of punctuation conventions in English would be in order (e.g. sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/punctuation.htm); a list of contemporary conventions is not likely to illustrate the essential purpose that punctuation serves in relation to syntactic boundaries. There's also a compendious book on the history of punctuation, Pause and Effect by Parkes. Jan 29, 2015 at 16:28

It reads better with a comma, but it doesn't need one.

I think it's both an imperative clause and a comment clause. It's a stereotypical phrase that we say, and you're telling the listener to believe what you're saying.

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