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Author Topic: Calling all grammar geeks!  (Read 65792 times)
looks far too young to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 11,583

i had fun once and it was awful

« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2012, 10:52:08 pm »

I'm editing a paper and I'm not sure about commas after "Then" as an opener in a new sentence. Here's the context:

"the velocities can be computed as [some math here]. Then, the [other math thing I was just talking about before] can be expressed as [another equation here]."

Should that comma be there? I can see both sides.  If the "then" is meant to express "as a direct result of this" the comma adds emphasis and sets it off.  If it's just a transition to move to the next thing, then I think the comma shouldn't be there.

Is there a hard and fast rule about this? 

Then is technically a conjunctive adverb, so you would use a semi-colon before then and a comma after it. It's a bit old school, though, and you could get away with a comma. I'm seeing it more and more.

My instinct said semicolon/comma combo too. That's what I changed it to.  Thanks!

They are our servants.  They are like dogs.  Sometimes, they think they remember being wolves, but they are only dreaming.
Senior member
Posts: 323

« Reply #61 on: June 14, 2012, 5:58:40 pm »

I've just purchased Stylish Academic Writing, by Helen Storm. It's a good read and has some good advice. You might want to subscribe to www.dailywritingtips.com --which sends subscribers (free) a short article each day via email. Some don't apply to academic writing, but I've found that others provide good coverage for students who don't get various grammar rules. I tend to collect the latter articles and then send them to students whose papers display those problems (including graduate students).
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