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Well, you look really pretty, wearing that red dress.

Well, you look really pretty wearing that red dress.

Should there be a comma after the word pretty?

Or should it be the way I punctuated my second sentence?

  • I would normally use a comma: The country may well go bankrupt, having to pay off its debt in such a short time. But there are no real rules here. BTW, most people nowadays use uppercase "I", though that was not always the case. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 5 '16 at 19:51
  • If the comma is to be left in, you should take out the blank space before it. Convention says that you put no space before a comma, and one space after. – J.R. Apr 5 '16 at 21:13
  • On the side, your statement would be more impressive if you start it with "Wow, ...". Using "well" comes across as indecisive. – user3169 Apr 6 '16 at 0:13
  • @J.R.: The space before the comma is due to the highlighting. Regardless whether you put it in bold or whether you use backticks, the result is a space before the comma. – IkWeetHetOokNiet Jul 29 '16 at 20:15
  • @Christophe - When I made my comment, there was no backtick. Moreover, I thought it was worth mentioning, because several learners seem to struggle with the right protocol for spacing around punctuation (see, for example, here and here). – J.R. Jul 29 '16 at 20:44
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My take on this is that in this case, the comma adds emphasis to the following word (wearing), which might possibly imply that normally you aren't pretty but wearing that red dress makes you pretty.

The second form is more common, implying you look pretty, or even more pretty than you normally do.

  • I would definitely avoid the comma unless you want to imply the person wearing the dress isn't normally pretty. Commas largely serve to make the rhythm of written text match how it is spoken, and putting one in here adds an unnatural pause in my opinion. – Tofystedeth Jul 29 '16 at 16:05

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