Natalia St-Va
Where is logic? Can someone explain to me please?


It seems to me that I'm too productive today, sorry. I have one more issue to discuss please :-) 

My question is: 

Why there is a comma between two parts of sentences when “although/ even though/despite, etc” are placed at the beginning of a sentence, but there’s no comma  if these adverbs are in the second part?

I know that the rule but I can’t stop thinking "why" when I don’t have any logical explanation.  Could you share your ideas please.

My logic why it's strange: 

>  It’s still the same part of a speech,  as well as a functional role ( as far as I understand) doesn’t change.

>  I wonder even more when compare grammar of different language. I always thought that English is highly logical but in this case, it seems to me that Russian is ( because there are commas in both cases I mentioned above).

The examples:

1. Despite the technical  problems, I was sure that our project would be successful.  ( a comma)

2. I was sure that our project would be successful despite the technical problems.( no comma)

3. Although implementation problems have persisted, some success was achieved. ( a comma)

4. Some success was achieved, although implementation problems have persisted.(no comma). 

The same question about introductory words = why there is no comma in some cases?  Or maybe some of them have to be considered differently? (like a contrast, etc). 

1. Perhaps we can meet on Tuesday (no comma).  

2. Maybe we need some legislation to get rid of fast food in fast-food restaurants.  (no comma).  

3. Well, she has no vision. 

4. Nevertheless, efforts to bring peace to Syria will continue.  (but Efforts to bring peace to Syria will nevertheless continue). 

5. However, he said a family health issue last month caused him to change his mind.  (but no commas if "however in the middle of a sentence).

6. Furthermore, policies of international development institutions have not always produced expected outcomes. ( if I’m not wrong, we need comma after any linking words). 

Thank you
Mar 5, 2018 4:57 PM
Comments · 7

One of the ways people punctuate sentences is through flow. You put a comma when you want to add a short pause in a sentence. It's logical in the sense that if you want a short pause, you add a comma. So to answer your question: It's simply the way the sentence flows.

To give you an example: As Beni said, in sentence 2, the comma is optional. So what's the difference between using a comma and not using one? With a comma, the flow and intonation of the sentence changes. A comma adds a bit of emphasis to the part of the sentence that comes after it.
March 6, 2018

Hello Natalia, 

As Sudeep said, “it’s how it is”. When an adverb clause is placed at the beginning of a sentence, the comma is used. 

There are many exceptions when it comes to putting commas with clauses, but I will just answer your two questions according to your examples.

Also, please notice that in your sentence 1 and 2, there is no adverb clause; however, the rule works the same way.

1. Despite the technical problems, I was sure that our project would be successful. 

No adverb clause. “Despite the technical problems” is a prepositional phrase; there is no verb, so it cannot be a clause. The comma is still used to apply the rule.

2. I was sure that our project would be successful despite the technical problems.

No adverb clause. There is normally no comma in this case, but to use it is also correct.

3. Although implementation problems have persisted, some success was achieved.

Adverb clause. The comma is put to apply the rule.

4. Some success was achieved although implementation problems have persisted.

Adverb clause. No comma is used since the adverb clause comes after the independent clause. 

Introductory words:

Perhaps, maybe: the comma is optional when these words are placed at the beginning of a sentence. 

Well: the comma is used for discourse markers such as well, anyway, right...

The others: they are adverbs acting as coordinating conjunctions, so the comma is used. 

I hope that helps. 

March 6, 2018

Natalia, you have posted this thread 16 hours ago, still no English speakers answered your question. Why? That's because English is not a highly logical language as you thought before:) If you ask questions with "WHY", "HOW", you may most likely get answers like: "it's how it is":) If I am not wrong, then there are many things in English that can hardly make sense and that's because it doesn't have any logic behind it rather it was taken directly from other languages. For example: if you ask any English speaker why "flammable=inflammable" even if we have a "in" prefixing that very word, I afraid very few might be able to explain it. Why is it semi-circle but it is hemi- sphere? See, English is highly influenced by Latin and Greek, so we can hardly explain some "Why" questions with logic, so it's good to listen to the answer-- it's how it is!:)

But anyway, it would be great to know if someone could address and explain your question logically:)

March 6, 2018
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Natalia St-Va
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language