what's the story here? sometimes because gets a comma before, and sometimes not. WHat's the rule???
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I think there should never be a comma before because. At least, I have never run across a comma there in grammar books.
Hi Ruslana

What does At least, I have never run across a comma there in grammar books mean?

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That in grammar books I have never seen a comma used before "because".
Give some examples.
Are you asking me or WW, Marius?
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Sorry to resurrect an old post, but I don't think Write Write received a full answer, and I'm a bit curious about this topic myself. Ruslana is right that commas should not set off most adverbial dependent clauses that occur at the end of a sentence. However, sometimes a comma is necessary before because for the sake of clarity. Here's an example from Fowler's Modern English Usage:

I know he committed suicide, because his wife told me.

In this example, the comma lets readers know that I heard about the suicide from the wife. Without the comma, one might believe that the reason that the man decided to committ suicide was because his wife told me something. You may also find a comma before because if the adverbial clause that follows is parenthetical. Here's another example from Fowler's:

He’d have to watch his step…not to make a hash of things, because of over-anxiety.

I might write it without the comma, but I suppose the comma helps illustrate that the over-anxiety is more of an afterthought and not the driving force. However, I'm a bit confused myself--

Question: does because of perform a different role than just plain because? That is, I've seen it referred to as a preposition instead of subordinating conjunction. Could this be part of the reason there's a comma before the because? And what about when because begins a sentence? I've read that most introductory adverbial dependent clauses (i.e., clauses that answer the why question--because clauses) should not have a comma after the initial phrase, but Fowler's provides this sentence as a legitimate example of because: Because of the deterioration of the sugar in the blood it was decided, after consultation, to carry out an exchange blood transfusion.


oops! I typed that out wrong. That last paragraph should read: ...I've read that most introductory adverbial dependent clauses ... should have a comma after the initial phrase....
When because follows a negated verb phrase, it must be preceded by a comma when the because clause explains why the event did not occur. They didn’t want her on the committee, because she was so outspoken means roughly “Her outspokenness was their reason for not wanting her on the committee.” When there is no comma, the because clause is included in what is being negated. Thus They didn’t want her on the committee because she was so outspoken implies that they may in fact have wanted her on the committee but for some reason other than her outspokenness.

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