comma before and after 'therefore' [adverb]: The weapon, therefore,

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tigerduck, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. tigerduck Senior Member

    German / Switzerland

    I am currently writing a paper in English literature and I am unsure about the commas in the sentence below. Do I need a comma before and after the therefore?

    The weapon, therefore, can be read as a strong indicator for a forthcoming crime.


  2. Kenneth Garland

    Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Bristol, UK
    UK, English
    Hello, tigerduck! Yes, you need the comma before and after 'therefore' - think of it as a pause for breath (or thought) in the flow of the main sentence.
  3. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Hi, tigerduck. I agree with Kenneth Garland, but I wanted to offer you another little test to see if commas are appropriate punctuation in a given case: If the main sentence makes complete sense without the word or phrase, then set it off by commas.

    He is, as far I know, a good dancer.

    If the word or phrase within the commas is essential to the meaning, don't use commas:

    My brother Rick is writer. My brother, whose name is Rick, is a writer.

    (Both sentences The first sentence leaves room for the possibility that I have other brothers who are not writers. The second implies that I have one brother, his name is Rick and he is writer.)

    See? Easy.

    Edit: This is so embarrassing. I gave wrong explanations about my own examples. :eek: Thank you to the colleagues who were too tactful to point that out.
  4. Christine-Brinn Member

    The North-East of England
    British English - UK
    I would also put the commas there in that sentence, although it mimics speech to an extent so in formal written work I would write: Therefore the weapon can be read as....
  5. tigerduck Senior Member

    German / Switzerland
    Thank you for all your fast and informative replies. They are much appreciated.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The weapon can therefore be read as a strong indicator for a forthcoming crime.

    No commas required.
  7. Christine-Brinn Member

    The North-East of England
    British English - UK
    That is, of course, correct.

    I do, though, think that sometimes it is better to keep the sentence as simple as possible for ease of reading.

    To interpose extra vocabulary between the subject and the predicate is best only used for effect as it increases the reading difficulty of the sentence. Of course the effect - usually of emphasis - is often desirable.
  8. languageGuy Senior Member

    Kansas City, MO
    USA and English
    The important point is that you may have no commas or two commas, but one comma is clearly wrong.
  9. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Is there a difference between "The weapon, therefore, can. . ." and "The weapon can therefore. . ." ?

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