comma with 'according to which' [preposition]: a theory, atw., men


Senior Member
Hello, all.

I have a doubt about the use of commas in the following phrase:

A new theory came up, according to which, men are viewed as...

Are both commas correct here?
  • Aside from the tense problem, "to come up" seems to be too conversational in your context. You may want to consider another verb, for example: to propose.
    Could you elaborate a bit more on the tense problem you are referring to?

    Are you suggesting it should be "men were viewed as", even when it's still the case at the present moment? (men are still viewed as)
    My concers were entirly different!

    A new theory has been proposed, according to which, men are considered to be ....

    If anything, this shows how lack of context can lead to vague answers.
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    I think the comma after "come up/proposed" is necessary but not the comma after "which."

    A new theory was proposed, according to which men were believed to have descended from Martians.

    What would be the reason for a comma after "which"? I'm open to adding one because I tend to overuse commas anyway :), but I can't see the reason for one here.
    You need the second comma because this is essentially a nonrestrictive clause. Do you see it differently?
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    Hmm, yes, I do see it differently. To me, "... men were believed to have descended from Martians" is not a nonrestrictive clause. Unless I've got it wrong (always a possibility), a nonrestrictive clause is a descriptor that can be deleted without changing the basic meaning of the sentence. The clause following "which" cannot be deleted in this case; the result wouldn't even be a complete sentence.

    You could recast the sentence to put the idea in a nonrestrictive clause:

    A new theory, which proposed that men were descended from Martians, was put forth.