To understand what is written, the reader must group the words together in the way intended by the writer; and in doing this he can receive assistance in various ways. Partly by the inflection of the words; partly by their arrangement; partly also by punctuation.
enerally separated from the rest of the sentence in which they occur. The usual point is the comma.
Be his motives what they may, he must soon disperse his followers.
This relation of your army to the crown will, if I am not greatly mistaken, become a serious dilemma in your politics.
Of course, this rule must be qualified by the rules for the stronger points, especially by those for the semicolon and the colon. It is often necessary to separate the clause from the rest of the sentence by a strong point.
EXCEPTIONS.--(I) No point is needed if either the dependent clause or the principal clause be short.
He would be shocked if he were to know the truth.
But if the dependent clause be inserted parenthetically, it is marked off by commas or the other marks of parenthesis, however short it may be. (See Rule X.)
If the sentence last quoted were inverted, a comma would be placed after the dependent clause.
If he were to know the truth, he would be shocked.