comma with fronted object: Web pages..., they label as


Senior Member
German / Switzerland

Can you tell me whether the following sentence needs a comma between object and subject? I know that there is normally no comma between the subject and the object, but because I changed the order, I am not sure whether this applies here too.

Web pages, on the other hand, that reproduce genres or combinations of genres familiar in traditional media(comma?) they label as reproduced genres.
  • I think the first thing to ask yourself is "What is the subject of my sentence?". Is it "they" or "web pages"? Has the "they" already been defined by the content of the previous text? I can appreciate that you are aiming for some kind of rhetorical effect with the inversion in this sentence, but you are in danger of producing something that is confused and confusing. If the emphasis is on the categorisation of web pages, then I think you should do as francais2008 says, and convert the verb to the passive voice. Alternatively stick in the comma at the point specified: not because it is required grammatically, but rather because it represents a point where, if you were reading it aloud, you would have to make a brief pause to help your audience interpret the syntax of your sentence.

    If the principal argument is regarding the behaviour of the "they", then you should ask yourself whether it is really a good idea to hide them away at the end of the sentence, instead of the start where a subject naturally belongs.