When I teach business writing workshops, I like to explain commas as trail markers through the meaning of a sentence.One important trail marker is the comma at the end of an introductory clause or phrase. If it is left out, the reader can get lost trying to find the main subject and the focus of the sentence.
A recent newsletter from the Gulas group makes some good points about email clutter and how to avoid it, but several of the sentences are difficult to read because this important trail marker has been left out. Take a look at these examples:
"Armed with this knowledge you will make better decisions."
"Set correctly your Calendar view will show your appointments,…."
"As more and more people synchronize their smartphones and mobile devices they are being distracted by email alerts, meeting reminders at all sorts of inconvenient times."
Each of the above sentences is difficult to read because of the missing comma, which would point out the location where the main clause begins. Here is how these sentences should be punctuated–with a comma after the introductory phrase or clause:
Armed with this knowledge, you will make better decisions.
Set correctly, your Calendar view will show your appointments.
As more and more people synchronize their smartphones and mobile devices, they are being distracted by email alerts (and) meeting reminders at all sorts of inconvenient times.