General Writing and Grammar Help/comma was never my friend

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Question
Hello Ted,

I would like to ask you about the following sentence I came across. It seems it might be lacking a comma after "Samsung," but I am not positive about this. Can you please help me?

"For Samsung another milestone could be a foldable display, if rumours are to be believed."

Thank you

Answer
Dear Kate:

  
I would like to ask you about the following sentence I came across. It seems it might be lacking a comma after "Samsung," but I am not positive about this. Can you please help me?

"For Samsung another milestone could be a foldable display, if rumours are to be believed."

*** Here is the "rule" about introductory phrases:  If the phrase is very short and if no confusion is caused, you may omit the comma.  Your sentence begins with a short, prepositional phrase, "for Samsung."  That satisfies the first part of the rule.  However, I can see how easily the reader could become confused, if the sentence did not have the comma.

Imagine that you are speaking this sentence.  Wouldn't you naturally pause after "Samsung"?
I would.  That oral pause is represented by a comma in written usage.

My advice is to use the comma.  It is useful to your reader and listener.

Kate, your question is a good one.  Many people are confused about these introductory phrases, and they do not want to overuse commas.  The very fact that you wrote "it might be lacking a comma" indicates that you have sensed the possible confusion.

Good for you!

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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