Punctuation: Commas with prepositional phrases

April 28, 2005: Issue 89

When a single prepositional phrase starts a sentence, setting it off with a comma is optional (although, because of the natural pause, we recommend the comma).

acceptable: At a yard sale she found the perfect table.
preferred: At a yard sale, she found the perfect table.

But when multiple prepositional phrases start a sentence, always use a comma after the last one.

incorrect: At a yard sale in her neighborhood on the north side of Chicago she found the perfect table.
correct: At a yard sale in her neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, she found the perfect table.

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