Commas With 'In particular' and 'Particularly'

Use a comma after "in particular" or "particularly" at the beginning of a sentence to modify (describe) a clause or a sentence. When modifying a single word, do not use a comma to separate "in particular" or "particularly" from the word it describes.

At the beginning of a sentence, add a comma after the phrase “in particular” to describe the whole clause that follows.

David likes playing video games. In particular, he enjoys playing real-time strategy games.

When using “particularly” or “in particular” to describe a single word of a sentence, do not use a comma to separate these expressions from the word they describe.

Patricia likes tropical fruits. She loves mangoes in particular.

I didn't particularly want to see him.

1. Differences Between 'In particular' and 'Particularly'

We frequently use "in particular" or "particularly" to highlight something specific or important.

You should control your emotions. In particular, you should take a deep breath and replace negative thoughts.

Those shirts are great. I particularly like the red one.

Both expressions have the same meaning, but they are used in different ways.

The phrase “in particular” can be used:

  • to describe a noun (e.g., “All berries are healthy. I like blueberries in particular.”)
  • to describe a whole clause (e.g., In particular, I enjoy going out with my friend Tom.”)

The adverb “particularly” can be used:

  • to describe a verb (e.g., “I particularly enjoy playing video games.”)
  • to describe an adjective (e.g., “He is particularly tall.”)
  • to describe another adverb (e.g., “She talked particularly slow.”)

You cannot use “particularly” to describe a noun.

I like the first candidate in particular.

I like the first candidate particularly.

And you cannot use “in particular” to describe a verb, adjective, or adverb.

She is particularly beautiful.

She is in particular beautiful.

2. When to Use a Comma After 'In particular'

When using “in particular” to describe a noun, we do not generally use a comma to separate the expression “in particular” from the noun it describes.

I wasn’t looking at Olivia in particular.

When using “in particular” to describe an entire clause, typically in front position, we should set it off with commas.

I like suspense stories. In particular, I enjoy watching Alfred Hitchcock movies.

At the beginning of a sentence, “in particular” should be preceded by a period or a semicolon.

I need to learn a new programming language. In particular, I would like to study JavaScript.

Olivia likes flowers; in particular, she loves roses and orchids.

When describing a complete clause, the phrase “in particular” is a conjunctive adverb. Conjunctive adverbs are used to connect two ideas or thoughts. They should be followed by a comma at the beginning of a sentence—and surrounded by commas in mid-sentence.

Related: Commas with conjunctive adverbs

3. Commas With ‘Particularly’

When describing an adjective or an adverb, "particularly" must come immediately before its adjective or adverb. We do not use a comma in this case.

That girl is particularly intelligent.

The weather was particularly bad yesterday.

There are several options when using "particularly" to modify a verb. We can put the adverb near the verb, but we don’t have to. As a matter of fact, we can place it in different positions.

At the start of a sentence, the comma after "particularly" is optional.

Particularly, I hate having to answer personal questions.

Particularly I hate having to answer personal questions.

In mid-sentence, using a comma before or after "particularly" is generally unnecessary (and sometimes wrong).

I particularly hate having to answer personal questions.

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