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When should a person use a comma before unless?
Is a comma ever used before unless?

Example:
We know that not every critter with wings can fly and we would presumably be doubtful that Hugo has a working pair at all, unless he is on his way to a fancy dress party or some other occasion for flapping.
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Comments  
You sentence is a good example of when to use a comma before unless: the sentence is so long that it is a good idea for the reader to pause to form an idea of what has been said so far. A comma makes him pause.

Cheers
CB
I think it's not so much about the length of the sentence, but the fact that unless is linking two independent clauses.  Any conjunction is preceded by a comma if it is linking two independent clauses.
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The comma is misplaced, as the "unless" clause is restrictive. As to length, first, the notion that comma usage properly depends on length should be style the Fundamental Error of Comma Usage; second, the sentence is compound, and — vitiating the excuse — a comma should occur before the coordinating conjunction.

See http://tinyurl.com/ydkgbul

Stephen R. Diamond
http://disputedissues.blogspot.com
<p>Your advice is really helpful, CB. "A comma before <em>unless</em> makes him pause to form an idea of what has been said so far."</p>
<p>For me, this works with shorter sentences, too — especially when big ideas are juxtaposed to promote a new idea within just a few words.</p>
That's not necessarily true.

For example:

I went to the store, because I needed milk.
WRONG

t's doesn't just have to be an independent clause.

For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so -- FANBOYS
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AnonymousAny conjunction is preceded by a comma if it is linking two independent clauses.
The problem is that 'unless' makes this a dependent clause, so your observation, while valid, doesn't apply to the sentence in question.

CJ
Okay, here is my sentence that I am having an issue with. any help would be appreciated. Would you actually place a comma after the word "Court" in the second line

As the Court is aware, the defendant having pled guilty to a third degree offense and having no criminal record has a presumption of non-incarceration in this matter, unless the "Court" having regard for the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history, character, and condition of defendant, is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public.

....unless the court, having regard for the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history, character, and condition of defendant, is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public.
AnonymousThat's not necessarily true.For example:I went to the store, because I needed milk.WRONGt's doesn't just have to be an independent clause. For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so -- FANBOYS
Okay, here is my sentence that I am having an issue with. any help would be appreciated. Would you actually place a comma after the word "Court" in the second line

As the Court is aware, the defendant having pled guilty to a third degree offense and having no criminal record has a presumption of non-incarceration in this matter, unless the "Court" having regard for the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history, character, and condition of defendant, is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public.

....unless the court, having regard for the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history, character, and condition of defendant, is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public.
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