What about the punctuation of the temporal expression “yesterday”?
Do I need a comma after it or not?
Well, not so fast, please!
The answer to this question is probably more difficult than you would expect.
That said, the short answer to the question is simply: Sometimes, it is followed by a comma, and sometimes, it isn’t.”
Ok, great. Not very helpful, though…
And that’s why we will now do a deep dive into the comma usage with regards to our temporal expression “yesterday.
Please bear with me!
Is “yesterday” followed by a comma?
If “yesterday” is at the beginning of the sentence, then a comma after yesterday is mandatory. In this case, “yesterday” functions as an adverb. Alternatively, if “yesterday” is in the middle of the sentence or is acting as a noun, then it should usually not be followed by a comma.
”Yesterday” as a noun
“Yesterday” can be either a noun or an adverb. When functioning as a noun, “yesterday” behaves in the same fashion as every other noun.
What is that supposed to mean?
It means that it can be the subject of the sentence or the object of a verb. It can also be used as an appositive noun. Ok, that’s the simplified version but it should do for now!
Yesterday, as well as comparable adverbs of time such as “today,” tomorrow,” in two weeks’ time and so on, can be either nouns or adverbs.
Now, when “yesterday” is used as a noun, it is not all that different from any other noun and, hence, does not get any special treatment.
That said, here are a couple of examples that illustrate the use of “yesterday” when it is functioning as a noun.
Here, “yesterday” is the subject of the sentence.
Does “yesterday” the noun take a comma?
The answer is usually a clear no. However, it needs to be pointed out that nouns can be used as appositives. And if that is the case, then that noun needs to be encapsulated with two commas (= a comma on both sides).
However, “yesterday” is seldomly used as an appositive.
”Yesterday” as an adverb
When “yesterday” is used as an adverb is where things get interesting (at least as far as comma usage with “yesterday” goes).
Now, as far as the placement of yesterday goes, it can be pretty much placed everywhere, meaning that it can start a sentence, it can be in the middle of the sentence or even finish a sentence.
Here are some examples to illustrate the powers of “yesterday.”
In the above sentence, “yesterday” lets us know when I went for a walk.
As you can see, “yesterday” is the last word in this sentence.
In this example, “yesterday” is in the middle of the sentence.
In this case, “yesterday” is used as an introductory word and is, therefore, placed at the beginning of the sentence.
Does “yesterday” the adverb take a comma?
Well, it depends. If it is used at the beginning of the sentence as an introductory word, then a comma is necessary. If yesterday is used in the middle of the sentence, then a comma needs to be omitted after “yesterday.” If “yesterday” comes at the end of the sentence, it should not be followed by a comma either.
In fact, any introductory word that comes at the beginning of a sentence should be followed by a comma. Other introductory words you might be familiar with include “furthermore” and “suddenly.”
Also, other temporal expressions such as “next week,” “next year” and “in a couple of days”, all need a comma when they start off a sentence.
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.