Should or should you not use a comma after even though

One English book says not to use a comma after a subordinator in the middle of a sentence, but I see another English book that uses a comma after a subordinator.

  • She voted in the election even though she did not like the candidates. (no comma)
  • Kris drank six cups of strong coffee[color=red], even though I warned him that he would have to sit quietly during the three-hour opera. (with a comma)
  • The words here and there have generally been labeled as adverbs even though they indicate place. (no comma)

Could someone explain these, thanks.

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***** NOT A TEACHER *****


Here is some information that may interest you.

THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE is a book that many American writers follow. I have the 1993 edition, but you can find the newer editions in a good bookstore or probably online.

It says:

“If a dependent clause is restrictive – that is, if it cannot be omitted without altering the meaning of the main clause – it should not be set off by commas. If it is nonrestrictive, it should be set off by commas.”

It then gives these examples:

  1. Paul was astonished when he heard the terms.
  2. At last she arrived, when the food was cold.

The book does NOT explain the difference. It leaves it to us to interpret the difference.

In No. 1, I guess the adverbial element is restrictive. If we removed it, we would “alter” the meaning of the sentence. Q: When was Paul astonished? A: When he heard the terms. (Not when he saw that the doughnuts were stale, not when he heard that his favorite actress was getting married, etc.)

In No. 2, “when the food was cold” is just an extra comment thrown in by the speaker. In other words, the person arriving late did not think to herself: I have decided to arrive when the food is cold." It was just a coincidence.

I certainly do NOT have the confidence to pronounce on the “correctness” of your three sentences.

So you should ask yourself, is the adverbial clause necessary to explain the main sentence? If it is, then do not use a comma.

By the way, I also think that in speaking, the pause (comma) plays a big role. For example, I am pretty sure that speakers would pause in saying No. 2. “At last she arrived – when the food was cold.” The speaker is being sarcastic and expressing his / her own opinion. It is NOT a restrictive clause.


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When you begin a two-clause complex sentence with a main clause, you needn’t use a comma; when you begin it with a subordinate clause you may use a comma. This is the usual practice. However, in my view, there is nothing wrong with placing a comma when we think it will ensure more clarity. But, as James says, when there is a non restrictive (non defining) clause, you must use a comma.

For example, compare the following sentences:

Her husband who is in the UK is arriving next week. (Restrictive)
Her husband, who is in the UK, is arriving next week. (Non restrictive)

I have added this now just to make sure that you are able to distinguish between the two types of sentences, i.e. restrictive and non restrictive.

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Does this sentence imply that she has more than one husband?


Yes, of course. This is a restictive clause. It is essential because it defines her husband.

(By the way, Yangbo, your question should be: Does this sentence imply that she has more than one husband?)

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