Do You Put a Comma Before or After “Please”?

Understanding when to use a comma with the word “please” can enhance the clarity and politeness of your sentences. This guide will explore the rules and provide examples to help you determine whether a comma should come before or after “please.”

When to Use a Comma Before “Please”

Rule 1: Beginning of a Sentence

When “please” starts a sentence, it is often followed by a comma, especially in direct requests or commands.

Correct Examples:

  • “Please, could you close the door?”
  • “Please, take a seat.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Please could you close the door?”
  • “Please take a seat.”

Rule 2: In the Middle of a Sentence

A comma before “please” in the middle of a sentence is less common and usually depends on emphasis or pause for politeness.

Correct Examples:

  • “Could you, please, close the door?”
  • “I need you to, please, take a seat.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Could you please, close the door?”
  • “I need you to please, take a seat.”

When to Use a Comma After “Please”

Rule 3: Direct Requests

In direct requests or commands, a comma after “please” helps separate it from the rest of the sentence, adding a polite pause.

Correct Examples:

  • “Please, pass the salt.”
  • “Please, let me know your decision.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Please pass, the salt.”
  • “Please let me know, your decision.”

Rule 4: When Addressing Someone

When “please” is used before addressing someone directly, a comma after “please” is common to set off the name or title of the person being addressed.

Correct Examples:

  • “Please, Mr. Smith, close the door.”
  • “Please, everyone, take a seat.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Please Mr. Smith, close the door.”
  • “Please everyone, take a seat.”

Read More: Is There a Comma Before “Except”?

Rule 5: End of a Sentence

“Please” at the end of a request often doesn’t need a comma before it, as it serves as a polite end to the statement.

Correct Examples:

  • “Close the door, please.”
  • “Take a seat, please.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Close the door please.”
  • “Take a seat please.”

Additional Rules and Examples

While the above rules cover the most common scenarios, the placement of commas with “please” can vary based on the structure and intent of the sentence. Below are more rules with correct and incorrect examples for a comprehensive understanding.

Rule 6: Embedded Requests

When “please” is embedded within a sentence, not at the beginning or end, it might be surrounded by commas if it interrupts the flow of the sentence as an interjection.

Correct Examples:

  • “Could you, please, help me with this?”
  • “I would like, please, to ask for your assistance.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Could you please help me with this?”
  • “I would like please to ask for your assistance.”

Rule 7: No Interruption

If “please” does not interrupt the sentence or is closely linked to the verb it modifies, no comma is needed.

Correct Examples:

  • “Please help me understand this.”
  • “Could you please explain that again?”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Please, help me understand this.”
  • “Could you, please, explain that again?”

Rule 8: Lists or Multiple Requests

When “please” precedes multiple requests or items in a list, a comma after “please” can help separate the requests for clarity.

Correct Examples:

  • “Please, ensure the door is locked, the windows are closed, and the lights are off.”
  • “Please, review the document, sign it, and return it by Friday.”

Incorrect Examples:

  • “Please ensure the door is locked, the windows are closed, and the lights are off.”
  • “Please review the document, sign it, and return it by Friday.”

Understanding the nuances of using “please” in sentences with the correct comma placement can make your writing more polite and reader-friendly. Always consider the tone and flow of your sentence when deciding on comma placement with “please.”

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