Comma Before “Especially” – Rules & Practice Sheet

25.11.23 Commas Time to read: 5min

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Comma placement can be a challenge for many students when it comes to academic writing. This is often because they don’t fully grasp the rules and exceptions that apply to the usage of commas. In this article, we address one such instance where comma placement can be tricky. We offer examples and explain the exceptions to the rules of playing a comma before “especially”, while also providing a practice sheet.

When to place a comma before “especially”

In general, a comma before “especially” is placed if the word introduces a non-essential element or when it introduces a dependent clause at the end of the sentence. No comma before “especially” is placed when the word is a direct modifier for an adjective, adverb, or verb.

Comma

Non-essential clause

Dependent clause

No comma

Modifier for an adjective, adverb, or verb

Comma rules may vary depending on style guides and complex sentences, making comma placement exceptions. Consider readability without commas.

Comma before “especially”

Generally, there are two instances when a comma before “especially” is placed. One is when “especially” introduces a non-essential clause. Moreover, you place a comma before “especially” when it starts a dependent clause at the end of a sentence.

Non-essential clause

A comma is placed before “especially” when it introduces a non-essential (non-restrictive) clause to set off the additional information from the main clause. This indicates that the information introduced by “especially” is extra or supplementary and can be removed without altering the core meaning of the sentence.

Examples

  • The team, especially the captain, was praised for their outstanding performance.
  • She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and biking.
  • The party, especially the decorations, impressed the guests.

Dependent clause

A comma is placed before “especially” when it introduces a dependent clause at the end of a sentence to signal a pause between the main clause and the additional information. This is also called the “final clause”. It helps clarify the structure of the sentence and ensures that the reader understands the intended relationship between the clauses.

Examples

  • I enjoy trying new recipes, especially when they involve exotic spices.
  • She has a great sense of humor, especially when telling anecdotes.
  • They always play their favorite songs, especially during road trips.

No comma before “especially”

You should not put a comma before “especially” when it directly modifies either an adjective, adverb, or verb. This will be explained in the following.

Modifier for an adjective, adverb, or verb

A comma is not placed before “especially” when it directly modifies an adjective, adverb, or verb. The role of “especially” is to provide additional information about the extent, manner, or focus of the adjective, adverb, or verb it is modifying. In these cases, the lack of a comma helps maintain a smooth flow of the sentence and keeps the connection between “especially” and the word it modifies more immediate and direct.

Examples

  • She was especially happy with the results of the project. (Adjective “happy” is modified)
  • He worked especially quickly to meet the deadline. (Adverb “quickly” is modified)
  • They appreciate when guests especially enjoy the desserts. (Verb “enjoy” is modified)

Special case: Comma after “especially”

A comma is placed after “especially” when it appears at the end of a non-essential element to set off the additional information from the rest of the sentence.

Examples

  • She loves reading, and most especially, romance novels.
  • Flowers smell pleasant, especially, the rose.
  • Drinking enough is essential, especially, when exercising.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

Below, you will find practice sentences for placing a comma before “especially.” Check your answers in the second tab, to see if you did this practice correctly.

  1. The children especially enjoyed the interactive science exhibit.
  2. The movie kept the audience on the edge of their seats especially during the thrilling scenes.
  3. Mathematics can be challenging especially when dealing with complex equations.
  4. The team worked especially tirelessly to meet the tight deadline.
  5. The scientist shared insights especially during the informative seminar.
  6. Her skills shone through especially during high-pressure situations.
  7. The volunteers contributed their time especially during special events.
  8. The museum showcased impressive artifacts especially those from ancient civilizations.
  9. The garden created a serene ambiance especially during warm summer evenings.
  10. The project achieved efficiency especially in data analysis.
  1. The children especially enjoyed the interactive science exhibit. (No comma)
  2. The movie kept the audience on the edge of their seats, especially during the thrilling scenes. (Comma)
  3. Mathematics can be challenging, especially, when dealing with complex equations. (Comma)
  4. The team worked especially tirelessly to meet the tight deadline. (No comma)
  5. The scientist shared insights, especially during the informative seminar. (Comma)
  6. Her skills shone through, especially during high-pressure situations. (Comma)
  7. The volunteers contributed their time, especially during special events. (Comma)
  8. The museum showcased impressive artifacts, especially those from ancient civilizations. (Comma)
  9. The garden created a serene ambiance, especially during warm summer evenings. (Comma)
  10. The project achieved efficiency, especially in data analysis. (Comma)
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FAQs

“Especially” is used in a sentence to emphasize or single out a particular person, thing, or circumstance from others. It often indicates that the specified item or situation is noteworthy, notable, or more significant than others.

Example

  • The chef’s specialty is Italian cuisine, especially pasta dishes.

A comma is typically placed before “especially” when it introduces a non-essential phrase or a dependent clause at the end of a sentence.

Yes, a sentence can start with “especially considering.” This phrase is often used to introduce a point or statement that highlights factors or circumstances that are significant in the context being discussed.

Example

  • Especially considering the weather forecast, we decided to postpone the outdoor event.

In most cases, a comma is not necessary immediately after “especially”. However, if “especially” is written at the end of a parenthetical or non-essential element, you place a comma after the word to set it off from the rest of the sentence.