Author Topic: Comma after "Once upon a time"?  (Read 738 times)  

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Comma after "Once upon a time"?
« Reply #25 on: Yesterday at 11:38:41 AM »
Actually, the comma is optional. I wouldn't use it. Purdue recommends commas only for introductory phrases five words and longer.

Purdue's saying that, huh? Interesting. You can't get a more mainstream source than Purdue, IMO.

English is experiencing a broad trend toward lighter punctuation. Traditional punctuation, anyway. When I was a teen, I was taught to follow the comma-after-intro-element rule quite strictly, with only very short intro elements (like "And" or "But") being allowed to go without. Now even multi-word intro elements are increasingly left to flow right into the sentence. Part of me is like

But, you know ... language changes. People tend to learn "the rules" at a certain point in time and then apply them doggedly, not recognizing that usage may be shifting around them. You have to keep up or look stale. :)