Introductory Phrases

A good way to break up a group of sentences that all have the same subject-verb-object format is to use an introductory phrase, which makes the reading a bit more interesting and engaging.

The drilling should be finished by Monday. The completion should be installed by Thursday. So by this Friday, the team should be ready to do the hookup to the steam line.

Rule of Thumb:
If the introductory phrase is four or more words long, use a comma after it – just like the third sentence in the example above.

What about shorter introductory phrases? Commas are usually not necessary for intros of 1–3 words.

Later he will be able to meet with you. (1 word)
In 2013 oil production will reach the target plateau. (2 words)
In my office I have the blueprints for that equipment. (3 words)

Generally, you don’t need a comma in such cases unless the short intro is a transitional word or adverb, as in this very sentence.
Other similar expressions that require a comma include:
In addition,
In fact,
After all,

Sometimes you need a comma after a short intro just so the sentence is not misunderstood.

Bad Example:
After eating the superintendent went back out to the drilling rig.
(Superintendents tend to be a little spicy!)
Corrected Example:
After eating, the superintendent went back out to the drilling rig.

Typo of the Day:
Free water lever
This should be “free water level,” but spell checker didn’t catch it because it’s a real word.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”
– Jane Austen, British author, 1775-1817


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