Grammar GuideCommaShould I use a comma after a time phrase such as "in the meantime"?

Should I use a comma after a time phrase such as "in the meantime"?

Should I use a comma after a time phrase such as "in the meantime"?

A time phrase is something that gives details of the time that something happened. It might be a single word or a complete phrase. Some examples of time phrases are tomorrow, at 2pm, five hundred years ago, and in the meantime.

When a time phrase adds information to an independent clause or sentence that follows it then it should be followed by a comma. If the phrase or sentence comes before the time phrase then it shouldn't have a comma before it.

Here's an example:

  • Correct: Five hundred years ago, there were no grammar books.
  • Incorrect: Five hundred years ago there were no grammar books.
  • Correct: There were no grammar books five hundred years ago.
  • Incorrect: There were no grammar books, five hundred years ago.

Here's another example:

  • Correct: Yesterday, there was no new news.
  • Incorrect: Yesterday there was no new news.
  • Correct: There was no new news yesterday.
  • Incorrect: There was no new news, yesterday.

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