Using a comma is not an easy task. That said, it baffles a lot of people who need to write daily, or at least regularly at school or work.
Recently, one question that has been raised by many is when should a comma come after the expression “during this time.”
Well, several conditions guide this particular comma placement rule. Why don’t we start by discussing it in a nutshell?
A comma comes after “during this time” when it is used at the beginning of the sentence, used before a coordinating conjunction, used before an independent clause, used in the middle of the sentence, used in a quoted or direct speech, as well as when it comes before a direct address or name.
Using a comma after “during this time” in detail
While using a comma after “during this time” comes easier as one keeps writing regularly, knowing its nuances also helps.
Six main conditions guide the comma usage after the time expression or adverb prepositional phrase “during this time.”
These conditions are listed as follows:
When “during this time” is used at the beginning of a sentence (introductory phrase)
“During this time” is mostly used as an introductory expression. Introductory expressions are useful for both making smooth transitions happen and contextualizing an intended idea.
Introductory expressions apparently come at the beginning of the sentence. They can be as short as a single word, as moderately long as a phrase, and even as long as a clause.
“Besides” is a also common word used at the beginning of a sentence as an introductory expression. A comma should also come after “besides” when it is used this way.
Clauses and phrases play different roles in sentence construction. The main difference between the two is the presence or absence of a subject and a verb.
When “during this time” is used as an introductory expression, it automatically comes with a post-comma placement.
The post-comma signals readers to take a quick break and gives them enough time to digest and link the given information, especially in long texts.
Here’s an example of how to do that:
When “during this time” is used before a coordinating conjunction (compound sentence)
Another condition we have to bear in mind is when “during this time” is used before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence structure.
In compound sentences, the comma separates the two independent clauses altogether with the conjunction used.
When the first independent clause ends with “during this time,” placing a comma after it is a mandatory rule.
The same comma goes before whatever coordinating conjunction is necessary for the construction of a targeted idea. “And,” “but,” and “or” are the most common among the FANBOYS.
Here’s an example that shows how it can be done:
When “during this time” is used before an independent clause (reversed complex sentence)
Regular complex sentence structures do not typically require a comma; what is, when the independent clause comes before the dependent clause.
Complex sentences are usually linked by subordinating conjunctions in the middle. In cases like this, no comma should be used before the conjunction.
However, when the order of the clauses is reversed or interchanged, the comma meanwhile becomes necessary
A reversed complex sentence simply means that the dependent clause comes in front or before the independent clause.
That being said, when “during this time” is used at the end of the dependent frontal clause, a comma after it also becomes mandatory.
Here’s an example to show what the explanation above means:
When “during this time” is used in the middle of a sentence (parenthetical phrase)
Sometimes, writing creative sentences also entails the insertion of “side comments” or “afterthoughts” somewhere within the sentence.
These creative insertions of expressions within or in the middle of the sentence are called “parentheticals” – a stylistic or rhetorical device.
As these side comments are not necessary for making sentences grammatically correct, they have to be separated with commas.
Thus, a comma also comes after “during this time” when it is used as a parenthetical insertion somewhere in the middle of the sentence.
As you may figure, this punctuation rule also applies to all expressions conveyed in such a manner.
To make things clearer, here’s an example depicting the condition above:
When “during this time” is used in a quoted speech (direct speech)
Quoted speeches also guide comma placement. A quoted speech or remark is a piece of information that is directly given by someone.
Quotation marks are necessary for conveying quoted speeches in writing. These punctuation marks should enclose whatever speech is uttered.
Quoted remarks typically come with attributions or those words we use to refer to the speaker or any source of the quoted information.
When “during this time” is used as a quoted or direct speech and comes before the attribution, a comma should also come after it.
In the example below, “Mike continued” is the attribution:
When “during this time” is used before a direct address (name)
A direct address is the use of a person’s name as a direct receiver of a message. Not limited to people, direct addresses can also be names of animals and things.
In writing, using a comma before or after names is necessary for conveying that the information is directed to a message receiver.
In other words, the comma helps in telling the reader that the writer is not talking to any other person besides the name used in the statement.
When this idea is applied to “during this time,” particularly when the direct addressee’s name comes after it, a comma should automatically be used.
In the example below, “Gayle” is the direct addressee, and therefore, the message is directed towards her.
Not using a comma after “during this time” in detail
While there are conditions that guide the necessary comma placement after “during this time,” there are also cases in which the comma should not be used at all.
There are two main guidelines we need to know when deciding to drop the comma after “during this time.”
Here they are:
When “during this time” is grammatically important (usual adverb phrase)
“During this time” alone is an adverb phrase for time. In other words, it can also simply be called a time expression.
When “during this time” as well as other adverbial phrases are not used in any of the mandatory comma conditions stated earlier, their meaning becomes necessary in completing the sentence.
In cases like this, we can say that their meaning is “grammatically restricted” to the sentence, and thus, commas should not separate them at all.
In the next example, “during this time of sorrow” is the complete adverbial phrase of time. “During” acts as a preposition, while “this time of sorrow” is its object.
Hence, leave off any comma when you use “during this time” like this:
When “during this time” comes before the dependent clause (regular complex sentence)
A regular complex sentence structure means that the subordinating conjunction links the independent and dependent clauses in the middle of the sentence.
This also means that the independent clause comes before the dependent clause. In this case, no comma should be used, unlike in compound sentences.
Having that said, no comma should come after “during this time,” and even before it, when it is used at the end of an independent frontal clause in a regular complex sentence.
Here’s what is particularly meant by that:
Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma After ‘During This Time’”
What does “during this time” mean?
“During this time” is a time expression that refers to an indefinite or hypothetical time in the past or future. The context of the sentence in which “during this time” is used helps in determining the exact time reference of the expression.
How can we use “during this time” in a sentence?
“During this time” is most likely used as an introductory phrase in a sentence, e.g., During this time, the kids weren’t home. It can be used adverb prepositional phrase where it doesn’t need a comma, e.g., We appreciate your support during this time of sorrow.
Does “during this time” mean “during this period of time”?
“During this time” can also more particularly mean “during this period of time.” However, the use of “period” and “time” together may be considered redundant, thereby making “during this time” a better option.
Now that we have already covered the nitty-gritty rules that govern the usage of “during this time,” knowing when to use or drop your comma should already be less tricky.
Join us again next time for more comprehensive discussions on anything about the English language and its system. See you!
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.