Commas may look like just little pieces of punctuation, but they can be powerful tools.
Sometimes, their primary function is to help with comprehension in a sentence. Other times, they can be used to indicate that a speaker is pausing to show emphasis.
When it comes to using a comma after “furthermore,” there are some general rules you can follow, but it is also a word that commas can set apart for extra emphasis. Sometimes, that means bending the rules a little bit.
Do you need a comma after “furthermore”?
The word “furthermore” should be followed by a comma when it comes at the beginning of a sentence. It is considered an introductory word or phrase, and these are supposed to be followed by commas. In the middle of a sentence, whether or not to use a comma after “furthermore” depends on whether it is essential or nonessential. If removing “furthermore” from the sentence would substantially change the meaning or structure, it is considered essential. If “furthermore” is essential, it should not have commas around it. If it is nonessential, it should be set apart by commas.
There is an exception. Sometimes, you might want to emphasize your use of the word “furthermore” and show that there should be a slight pause around it even when it is essential.
In that case, you would put commas around it.
While it is generally a good idea to stick to these rules in your own writing, you may see other writers leave out the comma after “furthermore” when it is at the beginning of the sentence or a nonessential word in the middle of a sentence.
That is because it is not a very strict rule, and the comma is generally not necessary for comprehension.
A writer could leave it out, and you would still probably not be confused about the meaning of the sentence.
Do you need a comma after furthermore when furthermore is at the beginning of the sentence?
“Furthermore” is a conjunctive adverb, meaning that it shows a relationship. In the case of “furthermore,” which means “in addition,” you are adding something to what you have just said in the previous sentence or independent clause.
For this reason, it is common to see “furthermore” at the beginning of a sentence.
Here’s an example of two sentences to show why you would start the second sentence with “furthermore” and follow it with a comma:
Here’s another example:
That said, when furthermore starts the sentence, it is always followed by a comma.
“Furthermore” at the beginning of an independent clause
One way you might see “furthermore” in the middle of a sentence it when it is at the beginning of a second independent clause, joined to the first by a semicolon or a coordinating conjunction. This type of sentence is known as a compound sentence.
Here’s an example. Notice that “furthermore” shows the relationship between the two independent clauses, signaling that the second one adds information:
Here’s another example:
“Furthermore” as a nonessential word
Another way that you might see “furthermore” in the middle of a sentence is as a nonessential word.
In the example below, notice that “furthermore” gives you some additional information, but the meaning of the sentence would not substantially change if you removed “furthermore.”
This means that it is nonessential, so it would be set apart from the rest of the sentence with commas.
In the second sentence, if you took out the word “furthermore,” it would not affect your understanding of the sentence.
Here’s another example:
Notice that once again, you could take “furthermore” out of the sentence without changing its meaning.
You might wonder why you would use “furthermore” in these sentences if the meaning does not change.
The reason is that it simply gives more emphasis to the fact that there is an additional factor in play.
Is “Furthermore”followed by a comma when it is used as an essential word?
Less commonly, “furthermore” is placed within multi-word verbs. When this happens, it acts as an essential word, and it is not followed by a comma.
Here’s an example. Note that “furthermore” comes between the verbs “were” and “exhausted,” so it is essential.
Here’s another example. Since “furthermore” comes between the verbs “was” and “damaged,” it is essential.
What if “furthermore” is essential but you want to add emphasis?
You may have heard people say that you use a comma whenever you want to indicate that the speaker is pausing.
While this is not a foolproof rule for correct comma usage, it is true that this is one of the ways in which commas are used. And sometimes, that means bending the rules a little bit in order to better convey meaning.
You might occasionally do this with “furthermore” even when it is placed between multiple verbs and is therefore an essential phrase. This gives the word additional emphasis.
Here’s an example:
The writer is putting special emphasis on the word “furthermore” by setting it apart with commas that indicate a pause.
The writer has listed one outrageous demand, that they leave the apartment in five days, and added another outrageous piece of information, that they will not get their deposit.
Since “furthermore” is generally about adding more information, you could think about the comma after (and before) it here as being the equivalent of saying something like, “And here’s one more thing! Can you believe this?”
Here’s one more example:
Can you “hear” how exasperated that writer sounds about this cousin’s visit? That pause around “furthermore,” even though it is an essential word, really brings out that sense of exasperation.
Sometimes, commas are a way for a writer to inject some personal style into a sentence, and this is what is happening in sentences like these.
If you imagine someone saying them, you might think about someone who has a slightly dramatic way of speaking letting that “furthermore” hang out for a second on its own to show how annoyed or upset they are with this additional thing on top of everything else.
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.