Essential & Nonessential Phrases Tips

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Do I use commas with essential and nonessential phrases?

Using Commas With Phrases

Use commas to set off nonessential expressions--words, phrases, and clauses that are not necessary for the meaning or structure of the sentence. You can tell whether an expression is nonessential by trying to omit it. If the sentence makes sense and is structurally correct, the expression is nonessential and should be set off by commas.

Nonessential: Let's talk to Bob, who has experience in this area.
Essential: Let's talk to someone who has experience in this area.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

So Long That

Always essential: The meeting was so long that we could not stay awake.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

Than

Always essential: My husband was more upset by our argument than he wanted to admit.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

None of Which

Always nonessential: We ordered five tacos, none of which have arrived."

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

As ... As

Always essential: He talked as persuasively in person as he did by telephone

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

For

Always nonessential: He read the book, for he wanted to learn about England.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

No Matter What

Always nonessential: The project will not be completed today, no matter what my manager wants.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

Until

Always essential: I will be at my desk until 4:30.

   
Do I use commas with essential and nonessential phrases?

As

Essential: The results of the mailing are "as you predicted they would be."

Nonessential: The results of the mailing are disappointing, "as you predicted they would be."

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

All of which

"All of which" always introduces a nonessential phrase.
My term papers, all of which have been completed, were on a variety of topics.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

Some of Whom

Always nonessential: They interviewed ten applicants, some of whom are qualified.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

After

"After" always introduces an essential phrase.
He called after you left.

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

Whereas

Always nonessential: I like chocolate shakes, whereas my husband prefers strawberry.

   
Do I use commas with essential and nonessential phrases?

Because

Essential: She left "because she had another meeting." (Here the phrase is needed to complete the meaning.)

Nonessential: I need to have two copies today, "because I am leaving tomorrow." (Here the meaning is complete without the phrase. The phrase is just extra info.)

   
How do I know if a phrase is essential or nonessential?

Although

This always introduce nonessential phrases.
She has joined a gym, although I don't think she'll really use it.

   
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