When to Use Commas With 'Oddly', 'Curiously', 'Ironically', and 'Surprisingly'

When introducing a clause with a sentence adverb, such as "oddly", "curiously", "ironically", or "surprisingly", add a comma after it.

When introducing a clause with a sentence adverb, such as "oddly", "curiously", "ironically", or "surprisingly", add a comma after it.

Curiously, there were more than 700 species of dinosaurs.

Surprisingly, the US economy is rebounding from the last recession faster than expected.

When using them to modify a single word, typically in the middle or at the end of a sentence, do not use a comma to separate these adverbs from the word they describe.

Olivia walks oddly because of a leg injury.

Olivia walks, oddly, because of a leg injury.

1. When to Use Commas With 'Oddly', 'Curiously', 'Ironically', and 'Surprisingly'

The words "oddly", "curiously", "ironically", or "surprisingly" can function as sentence adverbs or as regular adverbs.

Sentence adverbs modify (describe) an entire sentence or clause.

Oddly, Rebecca didn't mention that she was planning a wedding.

In the example above, the adverb "oddly" does not describe a particular word but the complete sentence that follows. In such a situation, add a comma after it.

Curiously, there are more than 500 native languages in Nigeria.

Curiously there are more than 500 native languages in Nigeria.

A sentence adverb can also be found in the middle of a sentence. Sentence adverbs should be surrounded by commas in mid-position.

James, surprisingly, didn't accept our excellent job offer.

At the end of a sentence, they should be preceded by a comma and followed by a period.

The inventor of the stop sign never learned how to drive, ironically.

2. When Not to Use a Comma

"Oddly", "curiously", "ironically", and "surprisingly" can also be regular adverbs, which modify a single word (verb, adjective, or adverb).

I felt oddly guilty about that.

When the adverb applies to a single word ("felt" in the example above) the adverb is not functioning as a sentence adverb but as a typical adverb. We do not generally use a comma to separate a regular adverb from the word (verb, adjective, or another adverb) it modifies.

Emma speaks Chinese surprisingly well.

Emma speaks Chinese surprisingly, well.

More examples:

He ironically suggested that political correctness could be avoided before lunch.

Alicia raised her eyebrow curiously.

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