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Comma before "too" at the end of a sentence?
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Hello,

I've been scouring the Internet, but to no avail. Could you please tell me when/if "too" should be preceded by a comma at the end of a sentence?

Example 1:

I looked for the answer in a book, and I looked on the Internet, too.

Is this second comma necessary?

Example 2:

A: I'm hungry.
B: I am too.

Should there be a comma in the above response?

If you could answer these questions and give an explanation as to when it is appropriate to use a comma with the word "too", I would be very grateful. If possible, I'd also like to know why the comma is/isn't used.

Confused Canadian

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The reason that it has taken several days to answer this question is that the Grammar Exchange has been scouring every reference it has to find the answer to this question, without success. So, the Grammar Exchange has consulted Janet Johnston, an editor at Pearson Education and an expert in all thing pertaining to copy editing. Here's what she says:

"If you remember the rule about adverbs (an adverb other than one at the beginning of a sentence doesn't need to be set off by commas from the rest of the sentence), it makes sense not to use a comma before "too" at the end of a sentence.

When the adverb comes first, however, people still put a comma after it as if it were an adverb phrase. But there are also many people, me included, who think an adverb phrase of three or fewer words doesn't need to be set off there either, and think that the comma just destroys the smoothness of the line.

I especially drop that comma from adverb phrases like "In 1964" + the rest of sentence. The Chicago Manual of Style has a handy little sentence somewhere that says that even though there is no grammatical reason to use a comma in a specific spot, if in speaking the line you put a pause there, use of the comma is OK.

It's a changing language and veers in the direction of simplicity all the time: two words becoming hyphenated and then one word, commas dropping like rain and disappearing, made-up words appearing out of nowhere, words changing from one part of speech to another. Seems that the best reason for dropping it is that it just isn't needed."

This writer (Rachel), however, usually does use a comma before the word "too" at the end of the sentence. Sometimes this comma is removed by an editor, though. In summary, we can say that the use of the comma before "too" at the end of the sentence is optional, but the trend seems to be going toward "light punctuation"* -- that is, no comma.

Rachel

*light punctuation" vs. "heavy punctuation" treated by Huddleston and Pullum in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge University Press. 2002

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I was leaning towards no comma, which the email above convinced me was right. Until this point:

"This writer (Rachel), however, usually does use a comma before the word "too" at the end of the sentence. Sometimes this comma is removed by an editor, though."

If 'though' takes a comma before it, I can't see why it would be left out for 'too' - in this context they modify sentences in exactly the same way, and I would pause to the same degree if speaking.
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Let's go to the:

http://www.americancorpus.org/

which allows us to search for commas and periods:

, too .
(thus end of sentence, preceded by comma)
gives 31366 hits
(they need to be separated all by spaces at this search machine)

too .
(also end of sentence, with or without comma)
gives 45429 hits

To me, editors' opinions or not, this shows that the majority thinks the comma is required.

The funny thing is that by limiting the search to FICTION we get:

9777
vs
16545

while in NEWSPAPER the stats are:

5964
vs.
6951

Thus, we should perhaps conclude that the newspaper editors are tougher than the fiction editors:-)

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Marius Hancu,
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I'm one of those who tend not to use a comma before "too" too!Wink
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The style guides I’ve consulted, including the Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition, give us a choice of the use or non-use of the comma before ‘too.’ Most tend to prefer omitting the comma.
Here’s a good explanation from Grammar Girl:
• The word “too” is an adverb that indicates “also” or “in addition.” It most often shows up in the middle or at the end of a sentence. Most of the time you probably won't use a comma with “too” because your sentences will be chugging along without needing a pause. So you could say, “I too like reading mysteries” or “I like reading mysteries too.” If, on the other hand, you want to emphasize an abrupt change of thought (1), you do use commas, which, among other things, are used to indicate pauses: “I, too, like reading mysteries” or “I like reading mysteries, too.” In these sentences, you are adding a pause to create emphasis.
There is no right or wrong here. Comma or no comma after “too” is really up to you and the context of the paragraph where the “too” sentence is. If you want to emphasize your thought, you can add the comma to slow the sentence down. If no emphasis is necessary, then no comma is necessary. http://grammar.quickanddirtyti.../comma-with-too.aspx
_______
Examples in dictionaries with ‘too’ at the end of the sentence seem to omit the comma too.
I may have to get with it, update myself, and start leaving out commas before terminal ‘too.’
_______

P.S. Have you noted that this thread has over 4000 views of it? Isn't this amazing? I think this thread started years ago, but still....I wonder if that number is correct.
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I'm sure it's very accurate, moderator. This question has surely baffled many, myself included. Regarding that so-called expert, I'd discredit her a bit for writing "me included" instead of "myself included". That just doesn't sound proper to me...

I used to exclude the comma, myself, but have come to think of it as correct. When it comes to language, I don't really know all the technical terms and such, but it just sorta seems to follow along with other rules I've picked up over time. Then again, the English language is horribly inconsistent. It's no wonder it's so rare to find an average person who can competently write this language. Hell, it's even difficult to find professionals who can since they even debate these rules. I don't know why we try to be so precise with a language that was created by idiots. We should just update the damn thing to eliminate all confusion.

Well, that's my opinion, anyways. I only signed up here to let you know that random people like me have found this topic on Google in search of an answer to a trivial question. I like the latest answer you posted, but I suppose we can't even really call that "correct" or "incorrect".
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quote:
It's no wonder it's so rare to find an average person who can competently write this language. Hell, it's even difficult to find professionals who can since they even debate these rules. I don't know why we try to be so precise with a language that was created by idiots. We should just update the damn thing to eliminate all confusion.


"Ouch...!"

Gilbert
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ONLY A MEMBER'S OPINION:

Sometimes you have to make a decision and stick with it -- regardless of what the experts say.

Many of us "mature" people learned to put a comma in front of "too" and "either," and there is no reason to apologize.

Mona speaks English. She speaks French, too.
(You need the comma to indicate a pause)

Tom doesn't like mushrooms. I don't, either.

It looks naked without the comma.

Thank you.
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First, to Some Google guy:

Hello, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. May you find stimulation here, and some lively discussions to enter. And, perhaps, some enlightenment, as we all do.

No doubt you appreciate the amusing words of Henry Higgins' song in 'My Fair Lady,' entitled, 'Why Can't the English Teach Their Children How to Speak?' The lyrics are here at this link:

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics...hycanttheenglish.htm

We have had some interesting discussions about correct English on this newsgroup, and about different registers, regionalisms, Englishes, etc. I hope that you will enter our discussions.
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Everyone!

I have just noticed that there have been 13,001 views of this thread!

Can that be possible? If so, it is the most viewed topic -- by far -- of any on the Grammar Exchange.
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Gilbert, I agree with your 'ouch!' comment.
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quote:
The Chicago Manual of Style has a handy little sentence somewhere that says that even though there is no grammatical reason to use a comma in a specific spot, if in speaking the line you put a pause there, use of the comma is OK.


This makes me feel a whole lot better! :-) I have always thought this, but it's nice to see some vindication. The problem though, is this kind of freedom could be tempting to abuse! ;-)

Wonderful conversation, now my question: Would all of the above also apply to "either" at the end of a sentence? I think it would have to. Bottom line, it can be correct with or without the comma, depending on the circumstance and the author's choice. For example, I think these are both correct:

I don't think so, either.
She doesn't think so, and I don't either.
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Hello, Proofer Brains, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

Although such discussions have basically been centered on "too," I think you are right, and the same story should apply to "either," as it plays the same role as "too."
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I'm sure it's very accurate, moderator. This question has surely baffled many, myself included. Regarding that so-called expert, I'd discredit her a bit for writing "me included" instead of "myself included". That just doesn't sound proper to me...



The word "myself" is a reflexive pronoun; the word "me" is a personal pronoun.

If no previously mentioned noun or pronoun is stated in the same sentence, use a personal pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun.

The expert is correct. You're not. It's that simple, lad.


Peace, brotherdoobie

This message has been edited. Last edited by: brotherdoobie,
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The word "myself" is a reflexive pronoun; the word "me" is a personal pronoun.

If no previously mentioned noun or pronoun is stated in the same sentence, use a personal pronoun instead of a reflexive pronoun.

The expert is correct. You're not. It's that simple, lad.


Brotherdoobie, do you mean "correct" in an absolute sense or only relative to "myself included"? Why not "I included" if you want to get technical? Would you have Rachel say, "[T]here are also many people, me being one of them . . ."? Arguably, "I included" is just an elliptical way of saying, "I being one of them" or "I being included in that group." Is there a grammatical justification for using the objective, rather than the subjective, form? My only other remark on the matter is that "myself included" is a phrase that, incorrect or not, is in the process of becoming idiomatic. It is used much more frequently than "me included," as a Google search will bear out. That's not a compelling reason to adopt it in one's own speech or writing, but it clearly seems to be winning the popularity contest.

Returning to the main topic, I agree with GrammarFan that schoolteachers of an earlier era -- when dinosaurs roamed the earth (my era, too) -- emphasized placing a comma before "too" in phrases like "my era, too."

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mark,
David, Co-moderator
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As I see it, too is sometimes used in a strict way, and sometimes in a loose, idiomatic way. It is reasonable to use a comma to differentiate the loose usage from the strict usage.
    Strict Usage (no comma): too follows the added element

    A: I like reading mysteries.
    B: I too like reading mysteries.


    A: I understand that you like reading romance novels.
    B: I like reading mysteries too.


    Loose Usage (comma): too doesn't follow added element

    A: I like reading mysteries.
    B: I like reading mysteries, too.
Too is sometimes used in such a way that its additive meaning relates to the clause as a whole. A comma is desirable here too.
  • The sun is shining. The birds are singing, too.
Where ellipsis is involved, it is reasonable to use a comma before too if it is possible to interpret the sentence as a sentence fragment:
    A: I am too.
    B: You are too what? If you are too hungry to wait, why don't you have a snack before dinner?
But this reading is possible only with be and have (I am too . . ., I have too . . .). Thus, the comma is unnecessary in elliptical too-sentences with do (I do too), would (I would too), should (You should too [Geoffrey Pullum]), might, could, will, and shall.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: David, Co-Moderator,
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David always explains as an expert, wow.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Guillermo,
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