caught by surprise of course, but fundamentally I[Comma with "of course" and an introductory word]

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klueless

New Member
Lithuanian - Lithuania
I came across the following sentence in a book Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass:
At times I am caught by surprise of course, but fundamentally I believe that word of mouth does not happen by accident.
Is this actually grammatically correct? My instinct would be to place commas before "of course" and after "fundamentally", even though it does result in a much clunkier sentence:
At times I am caught by surprise, of course, but fundamentally, I believe that word of mouth does not happen by accident.
In particular, the comma after "fundamentally" feels necessary because it's an introductory word - if the sentence was separated, it would read "Fundamentally, I believe that..."

I'm interested in which cases it's acceptable to omit the commas like that.
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    You might be interested in this resource, created by a mamber of WRF: Comma thread portal with info, key word links and topic sentences

    In your example, commas are less about grammatical correctness and more about clarity.:) i would also typically set off "of course" between commas but the comma after "fundamentally’ is something I would not use myself. Some people use as few commas as possible, while others have no problem using them to indicate pauses and emphasizing structures.
     
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