comma before while and which

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by coriinutza13, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. coriinutza13

    coriinutza13 Senior Member

    Hi. should I put comma before while and which? in some books comma was put before these in other books not thx
  2. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    Both are possible. Would you expect there were a rule ?
  3. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I wonder if the comma doesn't change the meaning of while, in some cases:
    I'm walking while you're running = I'm walking during the time you're running
    I'm walking, while you're running = I'm walking whereas you're running

    Could a native speaker confirm this?
  4. Pierre Simon Senior Member

    Yes, I would agree. The effect of the comma is to introduce a brief pause after 'I am walking'. As a result, 'I am walking' stands apart and attention is naturally drawn to what it is that I'm doing, i.e walking. What follows the pause forms a contrast. The contrast can be made clearer by using 'whereas' or 'whilst', although modern usage is gradually eroding any difference between 'while' and 'whilst'.

    In the first sentence, 'while you're running' operates as a kind of adverbial clause modifying the beginning of the sentence. When are you walking? I'm walking while you're running.
  5. coriinutza13

    coriinutza13 Senior Member

    thank you for your explication. it helped me very much

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