The Grammar GuideCommaDo I need a comma after a participle phrase?

Do I need a comma after a participle phrase?

Do I need a comma after a participle phrase?

Using a comma after a participle phrase depends on if your participle phrase is restricted or non-restricted. If you have a participle phrase ending in -ed or -ing and it's important to the meaning of your sentence, you don't use commas.

An example of a restricted participle phrase is:

The cat climbing the tree is in for a big surprise when it gets to the top.

In this instance, climbing the tree helps the reader know which cat is being discussed, and is necessary information in relation to 'the top'.

On the other hand, if your participle phrase is non-restricted, that means it's not necessary to the meaning and should be set off with commas.

The fish, flipping and flopping wildly, managed to avoid being captured.

Here, flipping and flopping wildly is extraneous information.

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