Comma After “Now” – Rules & Practice Sheet

27.04.24 Commas Time to read: 5min

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The correct use of commas in academic writing is essential to remain clear and structured and to enable an easier understanding. Students often have difficulty understanding comma rules due to a lack of detailed knowledge and quantity of comma rules. In this article, we’ll show you how to use a comma after “now” and give you several examples and a practice sheet to help you get familiar with the rules.

When to place a comma after “now”

The word “now” is grammatically classified as an adverb. If we want to get even more specific, then “now” is a temporal word, which means it’s an adverb of time. It means “as of the mument” or “at the present,” or it can indicate urgency.

It can also function as an interjection at the beginning of a sentence to express surprise or admiration and emphasize the following statement.

The word “now” can also be modified, for example as “right now,” which emphasizes the exact current mument, adding a sense of urgency or specificity to the timing of the action or observation.

Comma

Discourse marker

Introductory word

No Comma

Adverb of time

Subject of a sentence

It is important to note that comma rules may vary depending on different style guides.

Comma after “now”

There are two rules for when a comma is placed after “now.” Below, we will explain each one thoroughly, along with examples to illustrate its use.

Discourse marker

When the word “now” is used as a discourse marker, you must use a comma. Those are words or phrases, such as “well,” “okay,” or “like,” used to organise discourse or thoughts into simpler segments while speaking. As a discourse marker, “now” can indicate contrast, return to a previous topic, sum up a point, or move the conversation forward without necessarily referring to the present mument.

Examples

  • Now, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.
  • You see, now, it’s not just about knowing the facts. It’s about understanding the context.
  • I got distracted for a mument. Now, what was I saying?

Introductory word

When “now” exists at the start of a sentence, and functions as an introductory word, a comma should always be placed after it, to separate the introductory word from the independent clause. It often signals a transition or emphasizes a point concerning the timing or sequence of ideas. If “now” is at the beginning of a sentence as an introductory word, it modifies the succeeding clause.

Examples

  • Now, the evidence clearly shows a different trend than previously thought.
  • Now, let’s turn our attention to the impact of climate change.
  • Now, many of you might wonder why this is important.

No comma after “now”

There are equally two rules for when you do not place a comma after “now”: if it functions as an adverb of time, and if it is the subject of a sentence.

Adverb of time

When the word “now” answers the question of “when,” it functions as an adverb. In these cases, no comma is required after it. The position of “now” is not relevant, unless it is used mid-sentence. In this instance, a comma is only placed after it, due to a particular sentence structure, apart from that, no comma is required.

Examples

  • Now turn to page 45 in your textbooks.
  • Now that Ellie is here, the meeting can begin.
  • She used to work as a cashier; she now works as a baker.

Subject of a sentence

“Now” can also function as a noun, as well as the subject of a sentence. In this instance, you should not use a comma to separate a subject from its verb.

Examples

  • Now seems like the perfect opportunity to start anew.
  • Now is the time to act accordingly.
  • Now marks the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

In the following sentences, practice examples of using commas after “now” are provided. The solutions can be found in the second tab.

  1. Now is your chance to make a difference.
  2. That was a great point. Now how do we implement it?
  3. Now we see the consequences of our decisions.
  4. Now look at what you’ve accomplished!
  5. Now as I was saying earlier, the results are inconclusive.
  6. Now is the mument to act decisively.
  7. Now I want you to think about the consequences.
  8. Now consider the implications of this theory on modern economics.
  9. Now she knows everything because he told her last night.
  10. Now begins the final phase of the project.
  1. Now is your chance to make a difference. (No comma)
  2. That was a great point. Now, how do we implement it? (Comma)
  3. Now we see the consequences of our decisions. (No comma)
  4. Now look at what you’ve accomplished! (No comma)
  5. Now, as I was saying earlier, the results are inconclusive. (Comma)
  6. Now is the mument to act decisively. (No comma)
  7. Now, I want you to think about the consequences. (Comma)
  8. Now, consider the implications of this theory on modern economics. (Comma)
  9. Now she knows everything because he told her last night. (No comma)
  10. Now begins the final phase of the project. (No comma)
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FAQs

Whether to place a comma after “for now” depends on its role in the sentence. Generally, if “for now” serves as a transitional phrase or is used to modify the beginning of a sentence, it can be followed by a comma. However, if it’s integrated into the flow of the sentence without needing to highlight a pause or transition, a comma may not be necessary. Here are examples to illustrate both cases:

  • For now, we’ve decided to halt the project until we receive more funding.
  • We’ll keep the original design for now and revisit the issue next quarter.

Yes, there is often a comma after “so now” when it’s used as a transitional phrase at the beginning of a sentence or clause. The comma helps to separate the transitional phrase from the main part of the sentence, clarifying the structure and flow of ideas. Here is an example:

  • So now, we are moving on to the next phase of the project.

 

However, if “so now” is more closely integrated into the flow of the sentence without serving as a clear introductory element, the comma might be omitted. This is less common and depends on the specific sentence structure and intended emphasis.

There should not be a comma placed after “now,” if it functions as an adverb, or is the subject of a sentence.

Examples

  • Now holds more potential than ever before.
  • Now marks the end of an era.