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Do You Need a Comma Before “Such As”?

But it’s true! Grammar has all sorts of exceptions that make questions like the one in

In this article, we’ll answer that question and so many more

Look, I know it’s no fun coming to an article looking for a clear-cut answer and

NFL players such as Tom Brady are multi-time Superbowl Champions

This is no error on my part—it’s all about restrictive and nonrestrictive phrases

Restrictive phrases are those that lose meaning when the words after “such as” are removed, while nonrestrictive

Let’s see how our phrases work when we remove Tom Brady from them

Now I’m sure fans of many NFL franchises would be much happier if Tom Brady was

Winning the Lombardi Trophy is an exclusive feat—which is kind of the point

In restrictive phrases, you omit the comma before “such as

Now, what about our second example? As we can see, that statement is still true, even when

Brady; you can’t discount guys like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Daniel Jones (can you tell

” In nonrestrictive phrases, you need a comma before “such as

Remember, our task here is to remove “such as” and the words after it from the sentence,

If yes, it’s a restrictive phrase and doesn’t need the comma

Still makes sense, right? Therefore, it’s a nonrestrictive clause and needs its comma

For your own safety, large dog breeds should not sit on your lap

Final sentence: For your own safety, large dog breeds, such as Great Danes, should not sit on

Without the bands mentioned in our original sentence, this sentence isn’t quite accurate

Not every band is known for playing loud (me playing Rock Band in high school at three

Before we proceed, you may have noticed we only partially answered the question in our heading

In most sentences, a comma after “such as” would result in a comma splice

There might be some corner-case scenarios where this is appropriate, but here’s a good heuristic: Commas

In addition to those pesky splices, it also catches hidden problems such as using "a" after classification

The semicolon is much more flexible than the average punctuation mark in that it’s often up

However, I wanted to express a closer link between the clauses, so I used the semicolon

As with commas, it’s going to be difficult to construct a sentence with a semicolon after “

Though we can’t account for every instance, it’s safe to assume you’ll almost never

The words “in fact” actually follow many of the same rules as “such as,” which is why

Just be sure to follow the same rules of restrictive and nonrestrictive phrases

The sentence functions without “in fact,” so it’s a nonrestrictive phrase

This is another common question from practitioners of our titular phrase

Many hobbits, such as Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, have hairy feet

American states such as Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon have no sales tax

When we cut "such as" (and the list that follows it), the statement no longer functions

I live in New York State, dear reader, so I can tell you from firsthand experience: we

As with “including,” “like,” and “as well as” follow the same rules as “such as

There’s nothing wrong with this sentence—it’s just informal, and therefore best suited to text

(Also, notice that it's a restrictive clause, so no commas are needed

I think we’ve seen enough examples of it to get the idea, so I won’t

The New Oxford American Dictionary describes the distinction well:

And there are some sentences, such as the one about Civilizaton, where “including” wouldn’t work either

Use your writers’ instincts to determine which word best fits the situation

Finally, “as well as” is probably the trickiest—and most formal—of the phrases mentioned in this

But, to paraphrase Strunk & White, it’s using needless words

If you insist on using “as well as,” use those commas at your discretion

Both these sentences are technically correct, so it’s up to the writer to employ the right

Just note that in the second example the commas make the statement parenthetical, which therefore de-emphasizes poor

Conversely, “such as” often flows naturally in one sentence

Be careful, because cramming “for example” into one sentence usually creates a run-on

I’ve read many Kurt Vonnegut books for example “Breakfast of Champions

And “such as” usually doesn’t work correctly as a sentence starter

We hope you better understand the phrase “such as” thanks to articles such as this one