Is There a Comma Before or After Such As?

Do you need a comma with the phrase such as? The answer is… sometimes. Place a comma in front of such as only if you’re using it as part of a nonrestrictive clause.

Proper Use of a Comma Before Such As

The sentence below shows how to correctly use a comma with such as:

In this office, you’ll see many types of people, such as young and old.

The phrase such as young and old is nonrestrictive, so a comma is needed. What does nonrestrictive mean? It means the sentence is still true even if you can take the phrase out of it: In this office, you’ll see many types of people.

Proper Use of Such As Without a Comma

A comma is not needed when such as is part of a restrictive clause.

Animals such as lions and bears cannot be domesticated. 

In this sentence, “such as lions and bears” is a restrictive phrase. You can test it by trying to take it out of the sentence: Animals cannot be domesticated. The sentence is no longer true. 

Examples of Such As in Sentences

Such as is used in a sentence to give specific examples of what you’re talking about. If those examples aren’t essential to the truth of your statement, then use a comma before such as. You will also need to put a comma after the example unless it is at the very end of the sentence.

Earth tones, such as orange and red, look good on you.

We only go out to eat on special occasions, such as birthdays.

Take the commas out if the examples are essential to the meaning of your sentence.

Foods such as fruits and vegetables will help your body stay healthy.

I would like to work in an industry such as hospitality or education.

Now you can use the phrase such as with confidence!

Related: For more punctuation pointers, check out this section here. 

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