Commas Before and After 'In other words'

Add a comma after "in other words" to introduce a new sentence that repeats what has been said in a different way. "In other words" should be surrounded by commas in the middle of a sentence.

Add a comma after "in other words" to introduce a new sentence that repeats what has been said in a different way.

The young boy was stealing goods from the shelves of the store; in other words, he was a shoplifter.

"In other words" should be surrounded by commas in the middle of a sentence.

My neighbor has just bought a big house, an expensive car, and a new boat. He is, in other words, a big spender.

At the end of a sentence, "in other words" should be preceded by a comma and followed by a period.

James repairs the pipes and other systems of water supply. He is a plumber, in other words.

1. "In other words" at the Start of a Sentence

You can use "in other words" at the start of a sentence to explain what has been previously said in a different or simpler way.

He made an untrue statement to create a false impression. In other words, he is a liar.

We generally add a comma after introductory phrases and conjunctive adverbs such as "in other words".

Einstein was a great physicist who developed the General Theory of Relativity and discovered the Photoelectric Effect. In other words, he is a genius.

By using a semicolon before "in other words", instead of a period, you can narrow the gap between the two closely linked sentences.

I feel trapped in my job, depressed, and unhappy; in other words, my life is miserable.

Alternatively, we often add an em-dash before "in other words" to add emphasis by subtly changing the tone of the sentence.

Olivia was the only one who offered to help me—in other words, she is my only friend.

The sentence introduced by "in other words" can also be enclosed in parentheses to help clarify the previous statement (or be used as an aside).

Rebecca writes, edit, and tests programs (in other words, she is a software engineer.)

2. In mid-sentence or at the end

Although we typically use this expression at the start of a sentence, "in other words" may appear in mid-sentence or at the end of it. After all, conjunctive adverbs, such as "in other words", can be moved within a clause.

Alice is the best student I've ever seen. She is, in other words, brilliant!

Oliver participates in organized crime (prostitution, killing, drug dealing, etc.). He is a gangster, in other words.

In the middle of a sentence, "in other words" is an interrupter and should be set off with commas.

She is being vague and failing to provide details when her story is challenged. Karen is, in other words, lying to us.

At the end of a sentence, "in other words" should be preceded by a comma and followed by a period.

Paul usually feels nervous, insecure, uncomfortable, and timid. He is shy, in other words.

3. Other ways to say 'In other words'

In many situations, you can use expressions such as "to rephrase it", "to put it in another way", or "another way to say it" as a synonym of "in other words".

Other closely related conjunctive adverbs that follow similar comma rules are "namely", "that is", "specifically", and the abbreviation i.e.

Vegetables are important sources of dietary fiber and vitamins; that is, they are vital for your health and maintenance of your body.

I want you to learn the second most spoken language in Europe, i.e., German.

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