Is It a Phrase or a Clause? It Matters

Margie Wakeman Wells General, The Comma Leave a Comment

A dependent clause has a subject and a verb; a phrase does not.

…after lunch (phrase)
…after we ate lunch (clause)

…since Friday (phrase)
…since I left Friday (clause)

…before the session (phrase)
…before the session ended (clause)

The difference matters. For example, at the beginning of a sentence, the phrases above do NOT take a comma; the clauses do.

…After lunch we got down to the business at hand.
…After we ate lunch, we got down to the business at hand.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *