Rule 1: If a “with clause” starts a non-essential or dependent clause in a sentence, you should put a comma.
- Correct: We are going away together, for two weeks, with ten other people.
- Incorrect: We are going away together, for two weeks with ten other people.
Rule 2: Do not put a comma before “with” if it is essential to the sentence’s meaning.
- Correct: We need to speak as early as possible with respect to your son’s behavior.
- Incorrect: We need to speak as early as possible, with respect to your son’s behavior.
Now, let’s have a closer look at both of the rules described above.
In the rest of the article, we’ll elaborate on the rules and show you some helpful examples.
After you’ve had a closer look at the rules, we are sure that all your doubts will be cleared out. Hence, you don’t have to worry about making a grammar mistake in your sentences.
When to Use a Comma Before “With”
If you are wondering when to use a comma before “with,” you should refer to Rule 1.
Rule 1: Use a comma before “with” when it forms part of a non-essential clause.
This means that if the “with clause” doesn’t make sense by itself and the rest of the sentence does, you should put a comma.
In the following example, we do not need to know that the event lasts four days to understand the rest of the sentence. Therefore, we need a comma before “with.”
- The conference takes place on June 5th, but we will be arriving on the 4th, with the event lasting four days.
In this example, we do not need to know that there will be cutbacks to understand the sentence:
- They are taking over our company, but most are opposed to it, with cutbacks set to come.
Here we do not need to know that she works with Angela to see that she ate with her:
- She went for dinner with Angela, with whom she works.
Please note that the phrase “with whom” is not exclusively used with commas; you can see examples in the next section.
But first, here are some more examples of when you should use a comma before “with” in your sentences:
- She finished her work early, but didn’t leave the office, with several meetings still scheduled for the afternoon.
- I planted roses in the garden, but they need extra care, with the climate here being so unpredictable.
- John accepted the job in Paris, but hasn’t found a place to live yet, with the real estate market being so competitive.
- We had a great time at the amusement park, but were exhausted by the end, with over ten rides taken.
- The play was a huge success, but the after-party was lackluster, with many guests leaving early.
Now, let’s see when to avoid a comma before “with.”
When to Avoid a Comma Before “With”
You can refer to Rule 3 to learn when you should avoid using a comma before “with.”
Rule 3: You shouldn’t use a comma before “with” when it is essential to the sentence’s meaning.
It is far more common to use “with” without commas than with commas. The reason for this is that “with” is a preposition that functions to link or modify words.
Therefore, “with” generally does not require a comma when it appears in the middle of a sentence and is essential to the meaning.
We have gathered 10 great examples showing you when “with” shouldn’t be preceded by a comma”
- I don’t know with whom she spoke, but I recognized him.
- Could you find out with whom he stayed when the incident occurred?
- I am thinking of going with them on Friday.
- She is planning to go to Portugal with her husband.
- He packed his bag with clothes suitable for cold weather.
- She was seen walking with her dog near the park yesterday.
- I need to discuss the project with my team before making a final decision.
- The artist painted the canvas with vibrant colors that captured the sunset perfectly.
- She shared her umbrella with a stranger during the sudden downpour.
- He replaced the old batteries with new ones to ensure the flashlight worked.
So, in all of the above examples, “with” isn’t essential for the meaning. Therefore, we do not need to include a comma before the word.
Do you get the point? Otherwise, have a look at our final conclusion that clearly sums up the rules you need to follow.
The only occasion when you need to put a comma before “with” is when it is non-essential. E.g., “She married Pete, with whom she does yoga.” However, do not put a comma when “with” is essential to the sentence’s meaning. E.g., “She lives with her mother.”