comma with 'after' [preposition]: verify that, after clicking, the

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jhrecife

New Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hi,

I'm writing a technical document. The following phrase is an item in a checking list:

Verify that, after clicking the “Save settings” button on the folder settings page, the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.

Is it correct or should it be written without commas?
 
  • TropicalMontana

    Senior Member
    American English
    I believe you can eliminate one comma and make the sentence flow better by rearranging it so the phrase 'after clicking...' does not come in the middle of "verify that the window is refreshed"

    After clicking the "Save settings" button on the folder settings page, (<----comma) verify that the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Three possibilities are correct. You don't need any commas: the sentence can carry on straight through.

    Or you could treat the 'after . . . page' phrase as supplementary (i.e. parenthetical or detachable, i.e. set apart by lowered intonation at both ends), in which case you need both commas to indicate this detachable status/intonation. This would indicate more careful speech, spelling out each bit of instruction separately. Normally you can't put a comma after 'that', but here the two commas belong to 'after . . . page', separating it from the rest.

    Or you could say it continuously at first, 'Verify that after clicking . . .', but by the time you get to 'page' you need a breath/pause, so a comma indicates that.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Welcome to the forums, jhrecife!

    Verify that, after clicking the “Save settings” button on the folder settings page, the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.

    After clicking the "Save settings" button on the folder settings page, (<----comma) verify that the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.
    This is probably the best option. An alternative is:

    Verify that the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed after clicking the "Save settings" button on the fold settings page.

    I prefer TropicalMontana's suggestion because the text follows the sequence the user should follow.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Verify that, after clicking the “Save settings” button on the folder settings page, the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.

    It depends a bit on what the instruction means.
    If clicking the save button is meant to cause the refresh (amongst other things) I have difficulty considering the red text to be parenthetical/ optional/ detachable. So I prefer entangledbank's first option (no commas). I'm not keen on commas for breath markings, so I don't like the one-comma version.

    Changing the sequence (TropicalMontana's sentence) seems to remove the cause/effect connection between clicking the button and the window refresh. Taking a simplified version, there seems to be a difference between:
    Click the save button. Verify that the window is refreshed.
    - and -
    Verify that the window is refreshed after the save button is clicked.

    This could be imagination, or it could be too much sense of "Verify that the window is refreshed whenever the save button is clicked."

    For whatever reason, I prefer to take a deep breath and go through the whole sentence without any commas :)
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Oh well, if you're actually trying to get ordinary computer users to understand, you have to avoid all sentence complexity! Cut it up and feed it to them in tiny pieces, in (as cuchuflete says) the actual order of doing it:

    On the Folder Settings page, click the 'Save settings' button.
    Now verify that the window is refreshed and the new titles are displayed.

    In fact, it occurs to me here's one (rare!) example when it really is a good idea to avoid the passive. So:

    Now verify that this has refreshed the window and displayed the new titles.
     
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