comma before 'then'/'but' [adverb; conjunction]: he could, then, he

ryansamturner

Member
British English
In the following sentences where should I be using commas.

He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could, then eventually, he gave up.

He tried his best, but unfortunately, he wasn't good enough.

That's how I've been writing them, but not sure it that is correct or not.

Thanks
Ryan
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I wouldn't bother with any commas in those sentences, Ryan. (I'd also drop the second he in each sentence.)

    Punctuation's largely a matter of personal taste.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Try reading the sentences out loud and see where (if at all) you pause - not for breath but for meaning. Personally, I find that I want the first of the two commas in each case, but not the second.
     

    ryansamturner

    Member
    British English
    When reading it out loud, I believe my sentences to be correct. The commas add to the dramatic effect that I am trying to create. I just really wanted to see if it would be ok writing it that way.........
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In the following sentences where should I be using commas.

    He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could, then eventually, he gave up.
    The first comma is correct. It separates the first thought from the second. They could be separate sentences or separated by a semicolon.
    He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could.
    Then eventually, he gave up.
    :cross:

    After that, either the second comma should be omitted or it should be matched by a comma before "eventually".
    He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could.
    Then, eventually, he gave up.


    Similarly with the second sentence:
    He tried his best. But, unfortunately, he wasn't good enough.
    He tried his best; but, unfortunately, he wasn't good enough.

    The point is that the words "eventually" and "unfortunately" are not essential elements of the sentence. They are adverbial asides.
     
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