fbpx Skip to Content

Comma Before “through” — Punctuation Guide

Comma Before “through” — Punctuation Guide

Sharing is caring!

Today, we’ll tackle the guidelines for placing a comma before “through” – a word that comes with multiple faces.

Let’s get right into it.

When does a comma come before “through”?

A comma comes before “through” when it is used to introduce a piece of parenthetical information midsentence or when “through” is used after a parenthetical idea. A comma is also needed when “through” comes after an introductory phrase as well as when it is used after a direct address.

Necessary comma before “through” in detail

“Through” is a quite flexible word in English. It can act as a preposition, adverb, and even an adjective in a sentence.

As a preposition, it also contains multiple senses, but the most common usage of the preposition “through” is to suggest either “by,” “past,” or “across.”

As an adverb, “through” suggests either the movement from one side to another or the continuation of a procedure up to a certain time.

Meanwhile, as an adjective, “through” could mean “nonstop” in a more formal sense or “done” in informal contexts.

To know whether a comma should come before “through” or any other word in the English lexicon, we need to consider grammar and style.

Grammatical and stylistic conventions mainly guide whether a comma should be used or not before or after any word within a sentence.

In particular, sentence structure and idea emphasis are two of the main things to consider when we talk about grammar, style, and punctuation.

For example, a comma before “whenever” is needed when it introduces a parenthetical idea, but the comma should be omitted when it mainly introduces a dependent clause.

Similarly, knowing whether a comma before or after “although” is necessary also requires the same background knowledge of grammar and style.

In case these things are not your cup of tea, listed below are the specific guidelines on comma usage before “through.”

Comma before “through” in the middle of a sentence

One of the most confusing parts of comma placement before “through” happens when the word is used somewhere in the middle of the sentence.

In cases like this, the first thing to do is to understand the idea behind parentheticals or “side comments” in simpler terms.

A piece of parenthetical information can be conveniently added by the writer to make sentences richer or more meaningful.

Remember that we are not simply talking about a comma before or after a parenthesis symbol here.

Instead, we are talking about grammatically flexible ideas that are added for rhetorical or persuasive reasons.

A piece of parenthetical information can be as short as a word or as long as a clause. To understand this better, you can simply think of how “afterthoughts” work in spoken contexts.

When we convert these afterthoughts into written form, they need the help of commas to be clearly understood by the reader.

When using “through” to introduce a parenthetical idea, the part of speech of the word does not matter at all.

This means that no matter which part of speech “through” belongs, it can always be used by the writer to introduce a parenthetical idea.

Let’s look at the next example below in which “through” is used as a preposition introducing a parenthetical phrase in the middle of the sentence:


It is about us humans trying, through the gentlest gesture of nature, to make up for our mistakes in the past.


Comma before “through” at the end of a sentence

When we insert parentheticals in the middle of the sentence, this writing technique pushes the remaining part towards the end.

As you may already figure, commas go around parenthetical ideas to set them off from the rest of the sentence.

When a piece of parenthetical information goes midsentence, and the succeeding phrase or clause begins with “through,” a comma should automatically be used.

The closing comma for the parenthetical comment also serves as the pre-comma for “through,” as shown in the next example:


We can make changes as individuals, to some extent, through volunteerism.

Moreover, it is worth noting that the parenthetical phrase “to some extent” is something grammatically removable.

That said, removing “to some extent” would not hurt the grammatical correctness of the remaining parts.

However, this would also mean that the comma before “through” as well as the comma before “to” in “to some extent” should also be dropped in the process.


We can make changes as individuals through volunteerism.


Comma before “through” after an introduction

The next consideration for comma usage before “through” happens when it comes after an introductory expression.

Introductory expressions are set off with commas to make the transition clear. Doing so makes the initial context more understandable to the reader.

The comma after the introductory expression becomes the same comma before “through” if and when it happens to be the next word in the sentence.

This is what the explained situation might look like:


At present, through social media platforms, information-sharing has become so much more manageable.


Comma before “through” after a direct address (vocative name)

Last but not least, a comma before “through” also becomes mandatory when “through” is used after a direct address.

Any name or expression we use to refer to our message receiver to suggest that the message is directed towards that person can be called a direct address.

A direct address is also known as a vocative expression in language studies. People’s names, terms of endearment, and honorifics are some of the most common examples of this.

Using a comma before a vocative expression is also a default rule in writing, not to mention using a comma after it when the sentence structure dictates so.

Although it is possible to get rid of the comma in informal writing scenarios, religiously observing these rules is still highly recommended to avoid ambiguity and misinterpretation.

Here’s an example of how to use a mandatory comma before “through” that comes after a direct address or vocative expression:

Ma’am, through whom can you be reached on weekends?


Incorrect comma before “through” in detail

If there are considerations for the necessary comma placement before “through,” there are also some guidelines that prompt its omission.

To know that the comma is not needed, we should be able to understand the concept of grammatical restriction.

Grammatical restriction or limitation happens when the concerned word, phrase, or clause is crucial in completing the meaning of the sentence.

In other words, no comma is needed when “through” acts as a regular preposition, adverb, or adjective in a sentence.

To understand this idea more deeply, each of these three situations is explained in detail below.

No comma before “through” as a regular preposition

No comma should come before “through” when it acts as a regular preposition in a sentence. Needless to say, it should also not be preceded with a parenthetical idea to make this happen.

To know whether “through” acts as a preposition, it should be followed by a noun word or phrase afterward.

The noun word or phrase is what we can call an object of the preposition in grammar studies. To make things easier, prepositions become useless without their objects.

To compare, prepositions mainly connect ideas at a phrasal level, while conjunctions link ideas at a clausal level.

If the differences between clauses and phrases are quite unclear at this point, you may simply refer to our previous post tackling the nuances of clauses vs. phrases in detail.

Here’s how to use “through” as a preposition in a sentence that does not require any comma before it:


Parched and famished, the old man mindlessly walked through the woods.

In the example above, the preposition “through” means “across” or “along,” and its object is “the woods” which is a noun phrase.

Placing a comma before “through” in the last example is incorrect because the prepositional phrase “through the woods” is necessary to complete the meaning of the entire sentence.

No comma before “through” as a regular adverb

A comma should also not come before “through” if it acts as a regular adverb in a sentence. It typically suggests the meaning “from one location to another” or “from beginning to end.”

As the adverb “through” suggests the idea of “movement” or “process,” it is also normally used to modify a verb.

Once this circumstance applies to “through,” no comma should be placed before it – just like what we do with typical adverbs.


You’ll only appreciate the novel once you’ve read it through.

In the example above, “through” suggests the meaning “from beginning to end” or “cover to cover,” and it modifies the verb “read.”

Similarly, recklessly using a comma before “through” in the last example would make the sentence grammatically incorrect.

No comma before “through” as a regular adjective

Mostly informally, “through” may also be used as an adjective to mean “done,” “finished,” or “completed.”

In its formal sense as an adjective, “through” is used to mean “direct” or “nonstop,” particularly when talking about streets or routes.

When this is the case, it should be clear enough by this point that no comma should be used before “through” in this usage.


Lily is almost through with her homework.

“Through” in the sentence above means “done” or “finished,” and it is used as the subject’s complement.

Clearly, using a comma before “through” in the last example would not make any sense as it is a grammatically crucial part of the sentence.

Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma Before ‘Through’”


What does “through” mean?

As a preposition, “through” means “by,” “via” or “across.” As an adverb, it means “from one location to another” or “from beginning to end.” As an adjective, it means “direct” or “done.”

Do we need a comma before “through which”?

We need a comma before “through which” when it introduces a piece of information that is added for rhetorical or stylistic reasons. This mainly happens midsentence. A comma would also be needed when “through which” comes after a parenthetical insertion.

Can you use “through” to mean “done”?

In informal speech and writing, “through” can be used to mean “done,” “completed” or “finished” such as in “I’m almost through with my project.”


Using commas with ease comes with time and practice. That said, you should not worry too much if some things are still unclear at this point.

What you can do instead is watch out for more comma-related posts from our humble website to master the art of punctuation. See you again!