Commas play an essential role in written language. It plays a crucial role in helping to clarify the meaning and structure of sentences.
One question that often arises when writing is whether or not a comma is needed after the word “basically.”
As we explore more about the wonders of punctuation, we will try to eliminate questions from your mind so that you will enjoy the English language more.
So, let’s go!
When do we need a comma after “basically”?
A comma is necessary after “basically” when it starts a sentence, is used for emphasis mid-sentence, is used before a direct address, and is used in a compound sentence. However, no comma is needed when “basically” acts as a regular adverb modifying a nearby verb, adjective, or another adverb.
Right ways of using a comma after “basically”
The word “basically” is used to summarize or simplify a concept or idea. It acts as an adverb in all sentences.
On one hand, it is used to mean “essentially” or “fundamentally,” which emphasizes essential points of a situation.
In other words, it signals the idea that a speaker is about to provide a simple or general explanation of a concept.
At other times, “basically” may also be simply used to introduce an opinion or a point that you want to clarify to your reader or listener.
When used this way, it signals the idea that you want to be heard or considered, whatever message you want to impart.
The use of commas as a punctuation mark in sentences with the word “basically” changes the meaning, emphasis, and readability.
In the next subsections, you’ll find out how these cases play out in the real world.
Comma after “basically” at the beginning of a sentence
When “basically” starts a sentence off, a comma is usually required to separate it from the rest of the sentence.
This helps to clarify the meaning of the sentence, thereby making it easier to read. This case is consistent among all introductory expressions.
This means that “basically” modifies the whole sentence and, thus, it can be called a “sentence adverb.”
This is done to express the writer’s attitude toward the statement or idea that he or she likes to impart to the reader.
Other introductory expressions like “during this time” and “by the way” also work the same way as “basically” in terms of comma usage.
A comma after “during this time” is necessary to separate it from the main clause, which also makes the time reference more apparent to the reader.
Similarly, using a comma after “by the way” also tips the reader off that what’s coming is another idea – maybe something unrelated to the current topic.
Notwithstanding the different meanings and purposes that “basically,” “during this time,” and “by the way” suggest, the post-comma placement remains the same.
Take a look at the following examples:
“Basically, the goal of this project is to reduce waste.”
“Basically, we need to decide on an action plan before we proceed.”
“Basically, the company’s policy is to prioritize customer satisfaction.”
“Basically, the idea is to create a more sustainable future for our planet.”
As you can see, the comma separates the introductory word “basically” from the rest of the sentence in all of the samples above.
It does not only help in help in clarifying the intended meaning and structure but also makes reading a lot more convenient than without the comma.
Comma after “basically” in the middle of a sentence
In the middle of a sentence, a comma after “basically” can be used to suggest more emphasis to the reader.
It can be used to emphasize the main point of the sentence as well as stylistically (not grammatically) separate it from the rest of the sentence.
Separating it “stylistically” means that it is only added to enrich the meaning of the sentence – not to make it grammatically complete.
We might as well call it a parenthetical interruption for distinction purposes, which can be removed without hurting the remaining parts’ grammaticality.
“Just so know, basically, you don’t have to throw a fit just to get what you want.”
“Well, basically, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat.”
“That means, basically, it’s not the end of the world for you.”
“You can use this device, basically, to make your day-to-day life easier.”
In each of these sentences, the comma helps to set the word “basically” apart, meanwhile making the reader pay more attention to the succeeding idea while reading.
Remember to also use a comma before “basically” in all of the above-mentioned sentences because, again, it is a removable and not an essential sentence element.
Comma after “basically” before a direct address
Commas also have to be used with direct addresses or names. This is to make sure that the reader understands the direct referencing.
When “basically” appears before a name used as a direct address, a succeeding comma should be used too.
“Well, basically, sweetheart, everything will be okay.”
“Sorry for saying this, but, basically, Ma’am, what you did was rude.”
Terms of endearment and name titles are also used as direct addresses, hence commas should also be used around them.
Comma after “basically” in a compound sentence
A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses. These clauses are linked with a coordinating conjunction.
Commas are required before the conjunction that holds the two clauses together. So, a comma should also come after “basically” when it appears before the conjunction.
In case you forgot what coordinating conjunctions are and how to punctuate them, comma usage with FANBOYS is always necessary when they link two clauses.
Note that in the next few examples, the commas after “basically” are added for two reasons: one, because it is an interruption, and two, because it is used in a compound sentence.
“You’re not the only one having a hard time, basically, and you’re not even trying.”
“She can just come with me, basically, or she can ride a bus going there.”
Commas are tricky, and that’s a fact. Combine them with syntax and overall English grammar, and you’ll get the nastiest headache ever.
So, you may also want to know all the comma rules in a compact format to have a more general understanding of how this punctuation mark really works.
Not using a comma after “basically”
If there are several cases where we should take note of using a comma after “basically,” there is only one thing to remember about when we should leave it out.
This happens when “basically” acts as a regular adverb that modifies other adverbs, verbs, and adjectives in sentences.
No comma after “basically” as a regular adverb
When used as a regular adverb rather than a sentence adverb or an interruptive expression, no comma should come after “basically.”
“Basically” can modify nearby adjectives. This circumstance calls for not using a comma after it, as in the next sentences.
“That pumpkin recipe is basically the same as the original.”
“The argument was basically invalid.”
It can also modify other adverbs, particularly those that are considered intensifiers and mitigators as well as adverbs of place.
Likewise, no comma should be used in the following cases:
(place adverb) “Everything you need is basically here.”
Last but not least, there’s no need for a comma when “basically” is used to modify verbs in a sentence.
“She basically declined my suggestion.”
“He basically confirmed the rumor.”
One of the many confusions about adverbs is their placement within sentences. Whether or not an adverb should go before or after a verb is another interesting topic to discuss.
Long story short, and if we don’t consider exceptions, adverbs of frequency normally go before verbs, while adverbs of manner go after verbs.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma After ‘Basically’”
What does “basically” mean”
“Basically” is an adverb that means “essentially” or “fundamentally.” It can be used to either introduce an opinion or simplify a complex idea. These days, in casual language use, “basically” is considered an overused word like “apparently” and “very.”
Do we need a comma before “basically” at the end of a sentence?
When “basically” modifies the whole sentence and is not used as a regular adverb at the end of the sentence, a comma should come before it. The idea is the same as we would use a comma after it when used as an introductory word at the beginning of a sentence.
What are some synonyms for “basically”?
“Essentially,” “fundamentally,” “at the heart of,” “to simplify,” “in simple terms,” and “above all” are close synonyms to “basically.” These words are used to simplify ideas as well as introduce opinions.
In conclusion, the use of a comma after “basically” can affect the meaning of a sentence and its readability.
This is why we should pay enough attention, if not a lot, when we convert our ideas into written form.
Hope you enjoyed today’s topic, and please watch out for more interesting ones soon!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.