Grammar GuideCommaShould I use a comma after an introductory adverb like "apparently"?

Should I use a comma after an introductory adverb like "apparently"?

Should I use a comma after an introductory adverb like "apparently"?

Adverbs are words that modify verbs or even whole sentences. They often end in "-ly". Examples include "quickly", "frequently", "slowly". You can see that they "add" some information to a "verb" or the sentence that they are modifying. Some adverbs don't end "-ly", e.g. "sometimes" or "often".

When an adverb modifies an entire sentence or independent clause that follows it then you should use a comma after it.

  • Correct: Sadly, they didn't understand me.
  • Incorrect: Sadly they didn't understand me.
  • Correct: Strangely, the book hasn't arrived.
  • Incorrect: Strangely the book hasn't arrived.

So when "apparently" modifies the whole sentence or clause that follows it then it should be followed by a comma.

  • Correct: Apparently, he doesn't have a clue.
  • Incorrect: Apparently he doesn't have a clue.

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