If commas make you feel like tearing your hair out, you are not alone!
Both native speakers and writers of English and language learners can get frustrated as they try to understand comma rules, which aren’t always straightforward and can be confusing.
When it comes to a phrase like “in addition,” you need to pay attention to both where it is in the sentence and what it is doing in the sentence.
On top of that, you might sometimes see inconsistencies in books or on websites about whether commas are used with “in addition.”
The good news is that we’ve got you covered, and when to use commas with “in addition” will seem like much less of a mystery after you read this article.
Do you need a comma after “in addition”?
You usually need a comma after “in addition” when it is an introductory phrase in a sentence or independent clause although sometimes this is optional. You also need a comma after “in addition” when it is part of a nonrestrictive or nonessential phrase.
Do you need a comma before “in addition”?
You also need a comma before “in addition” when it is a nonrestrictive or nonessential phrase. When it is a restrictive or essential phrase, there should be no commas.
“In addition” as an introductory phrase
The comma rule for an introductory word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence or independent clause states that it should be followed by a comma.
“In addition” at the beginning of a sentence usually signals that you are describing something in a sequence:
Remember that two sentences or independent clauses can be joined by a semicolon.
If “in addition” comes at the beginning of the second independent clause, it is considered an introductory phrase and should be followed by a comma:
Two sentences can also be joined with a conjunction.
When “in addition” introduces the first part of a sentence joined with a conjunction, it looks about the same as our examples above:
When “in addition” is preceded by a conjunction
When “in addition” comes at the beginning of the second independent clause and the clauses are connected by a conjunction, things get a little trickier.
Notice that in the sentence below, there is a comma before and after “in addition”:
“In addition” needs to be followed by a comma because it is an introductory phrase.
However, in the above example, “in addition” is also a nonessential or nonrestrictive phrase.
This means that you could remove it from the sentence without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
For that reason, “in addition” actually needs to be set apart from the rest of the sentence with a comma before and after it.
We’ll discuss nonessential and nonrestrictive phrases more below, but there is one more thing you need to know about “in addition” when it appears at the beginning of a second independent clause connected by a conjunction.
Some writers will omit the comma before “in addition” in a sentence like the one above.
Here’s another example of a similar sentence with just the comma after “in addition” but not before:
The pause around “in addition,” indicated by a comma both before and after the phrase, emphasizes the additional information that you are adding.
You might want to leave out the comma before “in addition” if you want to de-emphasize that pause.
Commas as optional with “in addition” as an introductory phrase
Some style guides suggesting reducing comma usage in general, and some writers prefer this as well.
Some style guidelines suggest that if an introductory phrase is short, like “in addition,” you can leave out the comma unless you want to indicate a pause.
To avoid errors, it may be best for you to just remember to always put a comma after an introductory word or phrase.
However, you may see sentences that eliminate it:
You might even see “in addition” as the introductory phrase in the second independent clause joined by a conjunction to the first independent clause without a comma before or after it:
It is good to know that these variations exist so that you are not confused if you encounter them.
<However, at minimum, keeping the comma after “in addition” when it is an introductory phrase makes for better clarity, and you should generally strive to use it unless there is a good reason not to.
“In addition” as part of an essential or restrictive phrase
Be careful when you see “in addition” at the beginning of a sentence!
It’s not always an introductory phrase that needs to be followed by a comma.
It might actually be an essential or restrictive phrase, which should never be set off with commas.
An essential or restrictive phrase is one in which the phrase cannot be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence.
Usually, when “in addition” is an essential phrase, it is followed by the word “to.”
Here’s an example:
“In addition” as part of an essential word or phrase does not necessarily come at the beginning of a sentence or independent clause:
Or it might come near but not at the very beginning:
“In addition” as a nonessential or non-restrictive phrase
Unlike the above examples, sometimes you can remove the phrase “in addition” from a sentence without changing the meaning.
When this happens, it needs to be set apart from the rest of the sentence with commas:
You can see that in the above sentence, if you eliminated “in addition,” the sentence would have the same meaning.
“In addition” is just an additional phrase that emphasizes the fact that you are listing several things that Barbara said.
Here’s another sentence with “in addition” placed elsewhere in the sentence but still acting as a nonessential phrase:
Here’s one more. Note that if you removed “in addition,” it would not change the sentence’s meaning.
Like the cases discussed above in which the comma is optional, you might sometimes see sentences like these written without the comma around “in addition.”
The sentence is clearer if you keep the commas, but knowing that some writers may choose not to use it can help prevent confusion if you encounter 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.