“Especially” – Comma Rules Explained (Helpful Examples)

We need to understand a few comma and punctuation rules before using the word “especially” in a sentence. It’s possible to see commas before, after, or not at all, depending on the sentence structure. This article will explore all potential options.

Where Should I Place The Comma With “Especially”?

You should place a comma before “especially” when you’re using it as a parenthetical element or as a sentence-finishing clause. You should place a comma after “especially” when it appears just before parentheses or at the end of a parenthetical element.

Where Should I Place The Comma With "Especially"?

It’s much more common to see commas placed before “especially,” though there isn’t one specific rule that means we always have to include commas with the word. Sometimes, we can avoid commas completely.

Generally, if “especially” comes before a verb or adjective, we can use it as a modifier. In this case, we don’t need any commas present. It’s also unlikely that you’ll use commas with “especially” when it comes after a conjunction.

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When Should I Place A Comma Before “Especially”?

You can place a comma before “especially” when it’s the first word of a parenthetical element or when it’s the first word of a sentence-final clause. Typically, we’ll place a comma before “especially” more often than we would after because it’s more likely it starts a new clause.

Parenthetical Element

The easiest way to use “especially” is to include it as a parenthetical element. This basically means we surround it with commas or parentheses, allowing us to add further information to the rest of the sentence.

Parenthetical elements are removable while still helping the sentence to mean the same thing.

  • The King would like to see you, especially after last night, in the kitchen this morning.
  • You should make some room, especially because of your history, for them to come in and enjoy some comfort.

Sentence-Final Clause

The other way we might see commas used before especially is as a sentence-final clause. This is another very common form, allowing us to finish the sentence with a separate clause.

  • I could have been there for them, especially now that I know they needed me.
  • They couldn’t have worked harder, especially because of the results they achieved.

When Should I Place A Comma After “Especially”?

Commas after “especially” aren’t common because most native speakers don’t like to use an adverb like “especially” at the end of a clause. However, it’s possible to do so, and we include a comma after in the same way we include one before.

At The End Of A Parenthetical Element

While uncommon, it’s possible to include “especially” at the end of a parenthetical element. This means that we use it as the last word in parentheses.

The meaning of “especially” is the same whether it’s at the beginning or end of a clause, which is why so many native speakers try to keep it uniform and stick it at the front.

  • My friends, but Tom especially, won’t be there for me.
  • His children, but his daughter especially, are struggling to come to terms with it.

Before Parentheses

The only other way we might see a comma after “especially” is when the word comes at the end of the first clause but before another parenthetical element.

Again, it’s not likely that we’ll include “especially” at the end of a clause, so it’s a rare structure. However, if we do use it in this way, then we would do so in the following ways:

  • It affected the government especially, knowing what they know now, and there’s nothing else left to do.
  • They affected the rules for the school especially, which made it harder for children to cope.

When Should I NOT Use A Comma With “Especially”?

You do not need to use a comma with “especially” when we use it after a conjunction or when it’s modifying a verb or adjective. In these cases, we simply leave the phrase without commas, and it will still be grammatically correct to do so.

After Conjunction

First, let’s look at what happens when “especially” comes after a conjunction. It’s a very common sentence structure, making it highly likely that you won’t need to include a comma yourself.

Many teachers will tell you that a comma must always come before “especially,” but this is an over-generalization that should be ignored. It’s not correct, and here are some great examples of using it without commas.

  • The teachers of this school and especially the cover teachers need more of a fair wage.
  • It’s hard to be around you, and it’s especially hard to talk to you about it.

Modifying A Verb

We might also use “especially” to modify a verb. Since it’s an adverb, it’s possible to use it in a way that means something happens to a greater degree.

We can modify verbs in the following ways:

  • He especially loves his dog, which is what makes him so special.
  • They especially looked after their elders, which is why I love this community so much.
  • We especially need some new clothes, so make sure you find them while you’re out shopping.

Including “especially” before a verb means it happens to a greater degree. For example, “love” is good, but “especially love” is great, showing that there’s a real care for something in someone’s life.

Modifying An Adjective

The last way we want to talk you through using “especially” without a comma is when we modify an adjective. This works in much the same way as using it to modify a verb; only we’re trying to show the adjective happens to a more impressive degree.

Generally, we’ll try to use “especially” in this way to be synonymous with “very.” It’s similar to using the superlative form, though it isn’t quite as potent when written in most cases.

  • It was especially difficult for us to find anything to do last summer.
  • This was especially stupid, even for you. I hope you can learn from this mistake.
  • You are especially kind, which is hard to come by these days.