Recently, people have been wondering when exactly a comma comes after the word “eventually” – an adverb of time.
In reality, achieving flawless punctuation skills requires a decent amount of practice and time; it is not something we get to learn overnight.
Hence, taking things one step at a time is crucial. In today’s post, we focus on discussing the details of when a comma should and should not be used after “eventually.”
Let’s begin with a quick answer.
When does a comma come after “eventually”?
A mandatory comma comes after “eventually” when it is used at the beginning of a sentence, comes before a coordinating conjunction, used in a reversed complex sentence, used in a parenthetical comment, used before a direct address, and used at the end of a quoted speech.
The adverb “eventually” in more detail
“Eventually” is an adverb of time that simply carries the meaning “ultimately” or “in the end.” It is particularly used when an event or action has been delayed or postponed for a while.
This word can be used in different parts of a sentence, depending on the intent of the speaker or writer.
As a regular adverb, “eventually” can be used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Most of the time, however, it is used to modify verbs.
When used this way, “eventually” often comes before the verb that needs to be modified, such as in the example below:
Apparently, many adverbs can be used before or after a verb within a sentence. So, it is also possible to say “the situation will improve eventually.”
At other times, “eventually” is also used as a transition device or conjunctive adverb in more technical terms.
Conjunctive adverbs make idea transitions smooth and tightly connected. They also help in making written words more “visible” to readers.
When “eventually” is used at the beginning of a sentence, it gives such kind of effect, thereby making it even more useful than its regular adverb sense.
Now that we already know the basics, let us proceed with the comma usage guidelines after “eventually” in more detail.
Correct comma usage after “eventually”
Correctly using a comma after any word or phrase can only be done if and when constant practice is observed – not to mention reading.
As expected, certain “rules” or conventions related to grammar and style guide how punctuation marks should be used together with words and phrases.
This is also true with the adverb “eventually.” The next several subsections discuss the situations in which a comma is necessary after “eventually.”
Comma after “eventually” at the beginning of the sentence
“Eventually” may be used as a transition word at the beginning of a sentence. When this happens, the default rule is to place a comma after it.
Using “eventually” at the beginning of a sentence also means it is being used as an introductory word, or again, a conjunctive adverb.
Introductory words and phrases serve as excellent transition devices because they offer initial context to readers, making reading more efficient.
In less formal writing scenarios, the conjunction “but” could be used to start off a sentence. This means that the phrase “but eventually” may also be used to introduce an idea.
A comma after “but eventually” at the beginning of a sentence is also necessary to make the idea transition flawless and the sentence more meaningful.
As you may figure, the same informal writing style approach is taken when a writer uses “also” at the beginning of a sentence such as in blogs or other social media posts.
Comma after “eventually” before a coordinating conjunction
Coordinating conjunctions that link two independent clauses entail a necessary comma usage too. Clearly, this rule is also applicable to “eventually.”
What this means is that a comma is necessary after “eventually” when it comes before the coordinating conjunction in the middle of a compound sentence.
In simpler terms, coordinating conjunctions are also known as the FANBOYS which stands for “for,” “and,” “nor,” “but,” “or,” “yet,” and “so.”
The comma usage with FANBOYS in compound sentences is a widely-known grammar-based rule that people seem to find confusing.
This confusion is linked to the tricky comma rule with complex sentences or those that make use of subordinating conjunctions in linking a dependent to an independent clause.
For clarity, a comma should always come before FANBOYS or coordinating conjunctions. The same comma is needed when the word used before the conjunction is “eventually.”
If the emphasis of “eventually” is intended to be directed towards the verb, the sentence can also be restructured as follows minus the comma:
Again, “eventually” may also be conveniently used as an introductory word in the sentence above. If and when this is the intent, a comma should come after it.
Comma after “eventually” in a reversed complex sentence
A complex sentence is a type of sentence that makes use of subordinating conjunctions. This sentence type is made up of at least one dependent and one independent clause.
Subordinating conjunctions include words like “because,” “although,” “before,” “if,” “lest,” “unless,” and “so that.”
There are two main ways to build a complex sentence; the independent clause can come before the dependent clause and vice versa.
The regular structure is when the independent clause comes before the dependent clause. This means that the conjunction comes in the middle of the sentence.
In a regular complex sentence structure, no comma should come before the subordinating conjunction used mid-sentence.
In a reversed complex sentence structure, however, a comma is already necessary at the end of the frontal dependent clause headed by the conjunction.
When the frontal dependent clause in a reversed complex sentence ends with “eventually,” a mandatory comma should be used after it.
As you can see, the necessary comma placement is driven by the grammatical structure of the sentence rather than style.
Therefore, this comma rule is also applicable to all other words that come at the end of a frontal dependent clause in a complex sentence.
If the differences between clauses and phrases aren’t too familiar to you, please feel free to check out their nuances for better comprehension of today’s topic.
Comma after “eventually” in the middle of a sentence
Apart from grammatical structure, a necessary comma also comes after “eventually” due to stylistic reasons.
For creative writing purposes, we sometimes insert what we call “parenthetical information” somewhere within the sentence to make it more meaningful.
These pieces of parenthetical information are to be enclosed with commas when they come in the middle of the sentence, and they can be as short as a word or as long as a clause.
Clearly enough, when this style-based approach is applied using the word “eventually,” a comma is required after it.
We just have to make sure that “eventually” is the last word of the parenthetical information in order for the post-comma to be mandatory.
As you can see the parenthetical phrase deliberately uses “eventually” as the last word, hence the comma placement.
Comma after “eventually” before a parenthetical comment
As parentheticals entail comma placement around when they come midsentence, this also means that a comma after “eventually” is needed when it comes before a parenthetical phrase.
As you may figure now, parentheticals are really good rhetorical devices in the world of written language. Without them, persuasive writing may not take place.
Using parenthetical interruptions is also a great tool for making a writer’s idea more visible to readers because of its descriptive features.
In writing, both language structure and style work hand in hand to convey intention and meaning to the message receivers.
Comma after “eventually” before a direct address or name
To continue, a comma is also needed after “eventually” when it comes before a direct address or name of the message receiver.
In language studies, the use of a direct address is also known as the “vocative case.” Using a comma before a vocative entity is required – especially in formal writing.
The comma before the direct address or vocative entity is important in telling the reader that the message is directed towards the recipient.
In other words, the comma helps the writer convey the idea that he or she is not “talking about” a person but rather “talking to” a person.
As you can see, the comma after “eventually” in the example above helps in letting any reader know that “Jake” is the direct receiver of the message.
Comma after “eventually” at the end of a quoted speech
Last but not least, a comma should also come after “eventually” when it is used at the end of a quoted speech or remark.
A quoted or direct speech is what we use to convey the idea that the message is directly coming from the source.
From another angle, the use of direct speech is helpful in distinguishing indirect speeches or those messages that are already rephrased or reported.
In writing, direct speeches are enclosed with quotation marks. They also come with “attributions” or references to the source of information.
In American English, the comma usually goes before the closing quotation mark, but it is the other way around in British English.
Using a comma after a quotation or before it is a topic that requires another extensive discussion for clarity. So, feel free to read more about it in your free time.
Incorrect comma usage after “eventually”
If there are conventions on the mandatory comma placement after the adverb “eventually,” there are also rules that guide when to remove it.
Here are the main things we should remember when deciding to drop the comma after “eventually.”
No comma after “eventually” if it is a regular adverb
As explained early on in this post, “eventually” can also act as a regular adverb to mainly modify verbs in a sentence.
When “eventually” is used this way, using a comma after it is incorrect – not unless the usage of “eventually” falls under any of the guidelines for necessary post-comma placement.
Like any other regular adverbs out there, “eventually” can bear meaning that is restricted or limited to the wholistic meaning of the sentence where it is used.
For example, this condition is the same as when we use “quickly” to modify “close” in “She quickly closed the door.”
In the example above, using a comma after “quickly” would definitely not make any sense at all because its meaning is dependent on the verb it modifies.
When the same thing happens with “eventually,” using a comma after it is also incorrect.
As you can see, the sentence above would never make sense with a comma after “eventually” because of grammatical restrictions.
No comma after “eventually” in a regular complex sentence
Another case that guides the omission of the comma after “eventually” is when it is used in a regular complex sentence structure.
Again, no comma should come before the dependent clause placed in the latter part of a complex sentence.
What this means is that no comma should come after “eventually” when it is the last word of the frontal independent clause in a complex sentence structure.
In the example above, “eventually” means “in the end” and modifies the main verb phrase of the first clause “got over the heartbreak.”
No comma after “eventually” at the end of a sentence
Logic would tell us that no comma should come at the end of the sentence at all because that’s the job of a period or full stop.
Although this rule needs no further explanation, this is included here to show that “eventually” can also be used at the end of the sentence.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma After ‘Eventually’”
What does “eventually” mean?
“Eventually” is an adverb that mostly means “ultimately” or “in the end.” It is a time expression typically used when things get delayed or postponed for some time. It can also be used in wishful thinking scenarios to mean “sooner or later.”
How do you punctuate “eventually”?
A comma is often used after “eventually” when it is used as an introductory adverb in a sentence. A semicolon may also be used after it when it ends the first clause in a compound sentence that aims to get rid of coordinating conjunctions.
Is there always a comma after the word “eventually”?
More guidelines dictate the necessary comma placement after “eventually,” such as when it is used as an introductory word or a parenthetical interruption. When it is used, however, as a regular adverb, no comma should be used around it.
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.