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How do I use commas with parenthetical elements?
A parenthetical element is not essential to the meaning of the sentence but adds color to it. For example:
- Of all the chili sauces I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot, this is my favorite.
- Some people, who I won’t name, wouldn’t like this.
Normally a parenthetical element has a comma before and after it. Instead, you might choose to use brackets or dashes to separate a parenthetical element from the rest of the sentence. Here are some examples of parenthetical items used correctly with commas:
- Maria, although she comes from Spain, hates paella.
- This is, in my opinion, the most important issue.
- The biggest issue, as you will see, is where we will store all the extra components.
- The holidays in Spain, of which there are many, are mostly religious.
Interjections such as “yes” and “no” are generally treated as parenthetical elements. When they come at the start of a sentence, they should be followed by a comma. When they come at the end of a sentence, they should be preceded by a comma.
- Yes, that’s right.
- I don’t think so, no.