1

Example:

It turns out(,) religion isn't the best topic for a romantic dinner.

I've seen all these two versions:

It turns out that X ...

As it turns out, X ...

How about It turns out? Does it need a comma?

3

If you're going to verbalize the statement "It turns out, religion isn't the best topic for romantic dinner" you make a slight pause after the word 'out' before continuing to the next word. I was taught that there should be a comma after the word 'out' since the comma also represents the need for a brief pause.

If you're going to put 'that' after 'out' then there's no need for you to include a comma after 'out'.

Both of the versions you presented are correct.

2

They are both synonymous, but the word "that" may be replaced by a short stop (the comma). They both denote the effects of a certain topic (X).

Also, yes, you do have to indicate a comma after the phrase "it turns out".

2

It turns out is an introductory phrase.

Commas follows an introductory phrase preceding the independent clause. It can be short or long. In either case, using a comma separates the sentence's introduction from it's main idea and, thus, makes the sentence easier to read.

Example:

  • six days after the warranty expired, the car broke down.

A comma must precede the independent clause: religion isn't the best topic for a romantic dinner

So it will be:

It turns out, religion isn't the best topic for a romantic dinner.

No comma will precede if you use "that" after it turns out.

It turns out that religion isn't the best topic for a romantic dinner.

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