So and the comma: some handy writing tips

The comma is one of the most abused elements of punctuation in writing. It’s left out, it’s put in the wrong place, or it’s used in a why that simply confuses the reader. But, my laments about modern comma usage can be for another post.

Let’s talk “so”, and discuss some instances of when a comma is needed or not.

Yes, use a comma:

  • “So” starts a sentence. i.e. “So, she went to lunch instead.”
  • “So” joins a dependent clause to an independent clause. i.e. “She didn’t want to walk, so she hailed a cab.” or “So congested was the traffic, the ride took 30 minutes.”

No, don’t use a comma:

  • “So” acts as a modifier. i.e. “The cab ride was so slow.”
  • “So” is joining two sentence clauses, but “that” immediately follows “so”. “She got her lunch to go so that she was not late for her meeting.”

Hopefully, this provides some clarity to “so” and the comma for you.

If you have a burning grammar question you need answered, send it my way. I’m happy to help.

A.M.