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Do You Need A Comma Before “Since”?

Since And The Comma

If “since” is being used as a preposition, then it doesn’t need a comma. For example:

  • You haven’t been here since lunch.
  • She’s long since forgotten his name.

There are times that “since” is used as a subordinating conjunction to replace the word “because.” If “since” is at the beginning of a dependent clause following the main clause, then no comma is needed:

  • She bought a box of pencils since she was always losing them.

Graphic illustrating when a comma does not need to be used with "since".


However, if the independent clause right before “since” has a negative verb, then you need to use a comma:

  • I couldn’t go to the event, since I was sick.

Graphic illustrating when a comma should be used with "since".

Many Uses Of “Since”

“Since” is a unique word with several uses. It can even be used as more than one part of speech. It is important to realize that there are different rules about how to use “since” depending on the sentence structure you’re using.

When talking about time, “since” is used as a preposition or adverb. In this case, “since” means from one specific point in time up until the present. Another way to say this is “before the present time.” Sometimes “since” is used to mean “ago.” Another meaning for “since” is “any time after a particular time in the past.” You do not use a comma when “since” is used in one of these ways.

For example:

  • I’ve been a lot sadder ever since I moved to the country.
  • The project has been long since disbanded.
  • We dated each other many years ago, and she has since become sad and bitte


Further reading:

Commas with “And”

Is There A Comma Before Or After “Such As?”

Is There A Comma Before “Which?”

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By Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday holds degrees in English education and creative writing. As an educator, Michael specializes in corporate training having worked with IBM, Philip Morris International, and the Danone food company in Paris. He is a published author and is deeply passionate about the written word.

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