Commas to Set Off Introductory Elements (1)

Directions: Add the specified word or phrase to the beginning of each sentence, setting it off by a comma.

      That sombrero needs cleaning. [Add "Susan."]
      Susan, that sombrero needs cleaning.

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Expanding Sentences

      Readers need to know for sure what the subject of each sentence is, so when other words precede it, writers generally, as a courtesy, set them apart from the subject by a comma.
      In the following examples, the introductory words are underlined, and the subject is in bold type:

Before placing the noose around his neck, the condemned man spat in the executioner's face.
Backed into a corner at last, the raccoon turned and bared its teeth.
Where the road divides, you will face a truly Zen moment of decision.
Elizabeth, [the understood subject is you] sit up straight.

      The comma is used only if the subject comes right after the introductory words. In a completely inverted sentence, with the subject at the end, no comma is used.

Example: There on the doorstep stood the wanted man.