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English as a Second Language/Comma before "too" at the end of sentence?

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Question
This is really confusing me. There are many occasions where writers added comma before "too" at the end of the sentences. On the other hand, some writers omit the comma!! Which one is correct grammatically? For example,

1) I like apples, too.

OR

2) I like apples too.

Which one is correct?


Moreover, is this sentence correct?

I, too, like apples.

Or this is correct?

I too, like apples.

Answer
Hi Den!

Great question!  This is a very hard one for a lot of English learners because a lot of native speakers don't know the correct rule and usually just try to transfer what they were taught in high school to what they write.

Often, when we speak English, we do not pause between "too" and the word before it, so native English speakers often omit a comma before "too".  When a comma would interrupt the flow of the sentence, it should be omitted.

However, when "too" indicates a change of thought, THEN a comma should be used.

So, for your examples, the ones without a comma are correct:

"I like apples too."
"I too like apples."

But for these examples, a comma should be used:

"He has made a lot of mistakes in his life, but I, too, have not lead a perfect life."

So generally you should not use it, especially if it slows the sentence down unnecessarily.

Here are a couple more articles that explain in more detail:

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-use-comma-too
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/Commas.html

Hope that helps!

Brian

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly

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I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.

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I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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