Rule 1: When “though” is an adverb, which often appears at the end of a sentence, you should use a comma before it.
- Correct: He didn’t even tell me where he was going, though.
- Incorrect: He didn’t even tell me where he was going though.
Rule 2: When “though” starts a non-essential clause, you should put a comma before it.
- Correct: Michael, though poor, just bought a new car.
- Incorrect: Michael though poor just bought a new car.
Rule 3: Do not put a comma before “though” when it appears as a subordinating conjunction in the middle of a sentence.
- Correct: I couldn’t understand a word of the speech though I wasn’t really listening to it.
- Incorrect: I couldn’t understand a word of the speech, though I wasn’t really listening to it.
Rule 4: Do not use a comma before “though” when you use it to modify a modal verb.
- Correct: They are young, and though they might be immature, they are still learning.
- Incorrect: They are young, and, though they might be immature, they are still learning.
In the rest of the article, you can learn more about the different rules as well as the exceptions to these rules.
We’ll also show you some very helpful example sentences.
When to Use a Comma Before “Though”
When you need to decide when to use a comma before “though,” you should refer to Rules 1 and 2.
Rule 1: Use a comma before “though” when it appears as an adverb.
In this form, “though” usually appears at the end of a sentence, in which case you need a comma. This is also true if you use Chicago Manual of Style.
As an adverb, “though” modifies the whole sentence rather than one particular word.
Here are some examples:
- He is in a severe condition, but doctors say he will improve, though.
- I went to the premiere, but I didn’t meet any of the cast, though.
- The hike was strenuous, but the view at the top was worth it, though.
As well as appearing at the end of a sentence, “though” as an adverb can also appear at the start. When it does, a comma should go after the “though clause.”
Have a look at these examples:
- Though he was in a severe condition, doctors said he would improve.
- Though I went to the premiere, I didn’t meet any of the cast.
- Though they had a disagreement, they managed to find a compromise.
- Though it rained heavily, the event continued as planned.
Rule 2: Use a comma before “though” when it starts a non-essential clause in a sentence.
It is not common to start a non-essential clause with “though,” but you should put a comma before it whenever you do so.
These example sentences should help you understand it:
- She answered the question, though unsure of the answer, and got it right.
- The water, though warm, was a welcome relief after trekking in the desert all day.
- The cake, though slightly burnt around the edges, tasted delicious.
Now, let’s explain when you should avoid a comma before “though.”
When to Avoid a Comma Before “Though”
You should avoid using a comma before “though” when Rules 3 and 4 apply.
Rule 3: You shouldn’t use a comma before “though” when it is a subordinating conjunction.
This means that it connects one independent clause with a dependent clause.
A dependent clause relies on the first clause to make sense. Therefore, if it doesn’t make sense by itself, it is dependent, and you should not use a comma to separate the clauses.
Here are some great examples:
- He looked at his sister as though she had done something terrible to him.
- I eat lots of vegetables though you eat more.
- She plays the guitar beautifully though she has never taken lessons.
- The clouds seemed ominous though no rain was forecasted.
- I enjoy watching movies at home though the theater experience is unmatched.
- He’s confident about the interview though it’s his first time applying for such a role.
Rule 4: You shouldn’t use a comma before “though” when you use it to modify a modal verb.
Modal verbs are words such as “can/could/might/must,” etc. They are used to express obligation, ability, and permission.
You should not put a comma when you use the word “though” to modify one of these words.
Feel free to review these examples to better understand the concept:
- He knew the answer though he couldn’t work out how to express it.
- She said she wasn’t upset though the news must have devasted her.
- I believe it’s a great opportunity though you might need to reconsider your priorities.
- The team trained hard for the championship though they should have started preparations earlier.
- She was willing to join the project though she might not have the time to contribute significantly.
- He was always on time for meetings though he must have had a hectic schedule.
You should put a comma before “though” when it starts a non-essential clause and when it is used as an adverb at the end of a sentence. In contrast, when “though” modifies a modal verb or is used before a dependent clause, you should not put a comma.