Comma Before “With” – Rules, Examples & Practice Sheet

21.10.23 Commas Time to read: 6min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


Comma-before-with-01

Placing commas is one of the most common struggles for students, which frequently results in conveying the wrong ideas in academic writing. Becoming familiar with the specific rules for commas is crucial to preventing such mistakes and bringing across the correct meaning. The following article deals with using a comma before “with” in particular, aiming to provide an extensive guide for you to make your academic work more understandable and clear.

When to place a comma before “with”

A comma is often used before “with” when it functions as a parenthetical or interrupting element in a sentence. In terms of this, a comma is placed before “with” when it introduces a non-restrictive or non-essential phrase or clause that is independent of the main clause. Additionally, “with” is preceded by a comma to emphasize contrasting compounds. For clarity, a comma is also set before “with” in lists or complex descriptions.

Comma

Parenthetical element

Non-restrictive clause

Contrasting components

Lists and series

Complex descriptions

No comma

Modifying phrase

Restrictive clause

Introducing direct objects

Continuous actions

Subject performing multiple actions

The comma rules may have exceptions for long and complex sentences. Additionally, certain rules may change according to the style guide being used. Essentially, it is imperative to ensure good readability and clarity in a sentence to determine whether to include a comma or not.

Comma before “with”

When “with” serves as a parenthetical or interrupting element in a sentence, a comma should be placed before “with.” This rule is also valid when “with” introduces non-restrictive and independent clauses and the sentence entails contrasting components, lists, or complex descriptions.

Parenthetical element

Commas are frequently used to separate words like “with” that are employed as brackets or interrupting elements in sentences.

Examples

  • She went to the shop, with her best friend, to buy groceries.
  • The team celebrated their victory, with cheers and applause, echoing through the stadium.
  • He stepped onto the stage, with a sense of confidence, ready to deliver his speech.

Non-restrictive clause

A non-restrictive clause, also known as a non-defining or non-essential clause, provides additional information about a subject that isn’t essential to the basic meaning of the sentence. If you remove a non-restrictive clause, the core meaning of the sentence remains intact. Non-restrictive clauses are typically set off by commas, brackets, or dashes.

Examples

  • She arrived at the party late, with her hair beautifully styled.
  • The car, with its shiny red paint, caught everyone’s attention.
  • He presented his findings, with a confident smile, to the board of directors.

Contrasting components

A comma is placed before “with,” when it indicates and emphasizes a contrast between two ideas.

Examples

  • She wanted to go running, with no regard for the rainy weather.
  • He bought the house, with no consideration of his money situation.
  • They went hiking, with no information about the trail.

Lists and series

When a sentence contains a series of listed items and the last item is introduced with “with,” it is preceded by a comma for clarity.

Examples

  • He ordered a burger, fries, and soda, with extra ice cubes.
  • The weather today is cold, windy, and rainy, with a bit of hail.
  • I’d like my coffee strong and iced, with steamed oat milk.

Complex descriptions

When a sentence contains a complex description, e.g., if an element of a compound modifier describes a noun, it is advised to place a comma before “with.”

Examples

  • I got a bag as a present, with extra straps, for my birthday.
  • He received his salary, with a bonus, before the holidays.
  • The order arrived, with an extra item, earlier than expected.

No comma before “with”

Avoid placing a comma before “with” if it introduces a modifying phrase, a restrictive clause, a direct object, continuous actions, or a subject that is connected to several actions.

Modifying phrase

If the word “with” initiates a single modifying phrase, e.g., the phrase modifies the subject, you typically do not place a comma.

Examples

  • The piano with the white wing is the most cost-effective.
  • He found the manual with the code under the pillow.
  • The woman with the high heels fell on the stage.

Restrictive clause

Omit the comma before “with” when it integrates a clause essential to the meaning of the whole sentence.

Examples

  • The man with the red hat is my uncle.
  • Children with blue eyes often have light hair.
  • The dogs with short tails belong to the neighbour.

Introducing direct objects

When a direct object following the verb is implied by “with,” the comma is usually skipped.

Examples

  • She smiled with tears in her eyes.
  • He painted with pastel colors.
  • The band performed with passion.

Continuous actions

When an action that is ongoing or continuous is linked to “with,” it is not preceded by a comma.

Examples

  • She spoke with increasing eccentricity about her plans.
  • The snow fell with full force through the night.
  • He ran with full acceleration towards the finish line.

Subject performing multiple actions

When two or more actions are carried out by one subject and the last action is introduced by “with,” the comma is skipped.

Examples

  • She grabbed her shoes and left with haste.
  • He woke up, drank coffee, and left for work with motivation.
  • The dog curled up and slept with contentment.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

Test your understanding of using commas before “with” by correctly placing them in 10 sentences. cheque your answers in the second tab.

  1. The woman with the purple hair is my aunt.
  2. I prefer my coffee with oat milk and vanilla flavour.
  3. They finished the project with only minutes to spare.
  4. My friend with the new bike won the race.
  5. She’s travelling to Paris with hopes of seeing the Eiffel Tower.
  6. The girl with a loud voice always stands out in the choir.
  7. He ordered a pizza with mushrooms, olives, and peppers with garlic bread.
  8. It started hailing with no warning at all.
  9. He left the party early with his sister in tow.
  10. The bakery with the blue awning is the best in town.
  1. The woman with the purple hair is my aunt. (No comma, restrictive clause)
  2. I prefer my coffee with oat milk and vanilla flavour. (No comma, direct object)
  3. They finished the project with only minutes to spare. (No comma, continuous action)
  4. My friend with the new bike won the race. (No comma, restrictive clause)
  5. She’s travelling to Paris, with hopes of seeing the Eiffel Tower. (Comma, contrasting components)
  6. The girl with a loud voice always stands out in the choir. (No comma, restrictive clause)
  7. He ordered a pizza with mushrooms, olives, and peppers, with garlic bread. (Comma, list/series)
  8. It started hailing, with no warning at all. (Comma, contrasting components)
  9. He left the party early, with his sister in tow. (Comma, non-restrictive clause)
  10. The bakery with the blue awning is the best in town. (No comma, restrictive clause)
Ready to print your thesis?
Students in Australia can now also benefit from our printing services at BachelorPrint! Get top-notch quality for printing and binding your thesis at affordable prices from just AU$ 11.90. Add our FREE express delivery and you're good to go.

FAQs

No, you should not always use a comma before “with.” It is mostly used when it implies a non-restrictive clause or parenthetical element.

There is a range of rules regarding the use of a comma before “with.” A comma is typically placed before “with,” when it introduces a parenthetical element, non-essential clause, contrasting components, list and series, or complex descriptions.

You generally do not use a comma before “with,” when it introduces a modifying phrase, restrictive clause, direct objects, continuous actions, and several actions linked to the same subject.

While it’s not conventional to use a comma before “with” in restrictive clauses, some writers might use it for emphasis or clarity, especially when the sentence structure or pacing benefits from a pause or to avoid ambiguity.