Awhile ago I came across writing advice from Philip Pullman that amounted to: “The beginning of a story doesn’t have to be told first.” No duh, I thought. Of course the first pieces of information an audience receives from a storyteller will not necessarily correspond to what happened first chronologically. But Pullman’s insight is more…
Don’t believe everything you read on Grammarly. I recently came across their advice on commas after introductory words. Granted, it’s not a pressing world problem, and I’m no grammar Nazi, but in this case, they were alleging something is wrong that isn’t, and that gets me all het up. Their example of incorrect usage—“Meanwhile the cat stretched luxuriously in the sunshine—is in fact perfectly fine; you don’t need a comma after “Meanwhile.” A comma after an introductory word or short phrase is optional.
Overall the post is a great example of how googling a grammar question can get you a bad answer, and usually one that will lecture you on independent clauses and blah-blah-blah when really the only point of punctuation is to serve clarity and consistency, and you don’t need to memorize arcane terms for various word groups to know how to punctuate them correctly. Grammar Underground has a much better take here. Even further down the Google rankings, the Editor’s Blog put it best: “Transition words such as therefore and indeed are often followed by commas, but they don’t have to be. The trend is toward a more light-handed use of commas. If meaning is clear and readers couldn’t possibly misread, consider dropping commas from single-word transitions (and even a few multiword transitions).” See? Much easier. Enjoy!