Police arrested several men, who were later released

Police arrested several men, who were later released.

Question: I don’t understand why there’s a comma before who.
Does it make any differences with a comma or without a comma?

Thank you!!!

It is to break up the sentence into two separate thoughts. In this sentence it changes the timeline of the events. With the comma it emphasizes that the men were released after being arrested. Without the comma it sounds like “who were later released” is a characteristic of the people that were arrested.


That comma is not necessary. Commas are necessary between two independent clauses (each clause able to be a complete independent sentence). That is not the case here. It is a common “mistake”, and not too important.

However, I would not say totally unimportant. I gave up reading a book once because it was filled with this and other stylistic errors. It was written by an American writer who should know better, and it and should have been one of my favorites because of its subject matter. But I found it unreadable. Even the title of the book had a misplaced comma.

Some style rules are more important than others, and more so in some situations than others. I’m certainly not above making errors (don’t parse this post for style and grammar errors just because that’s what I’m complaining about. :wink: The most common error is in my opinion is misuse of a comma where a verbal pause would exist although not required by the grammar.

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