When to Add a Comma After 'Now'

Do not use a comma after "now" at the start of a sentence to describe when something happens.

Do not use a comma after "now" at the start of a sentence to describe when something happens.

Now I need to go to the grocery store.

Add a comma after "now" when using it as a discourse marker (to organize your thoughts before adding the main part of the sentence).

Now, considering the circumstances, it was a good try.

1. Different Ways to Use 'Now'

The word "now" is mainly used as:

  • An adverb of time to mean "at present", "immediately", "nowadays", etc.
  • The subject of a sentence (e.g., "Now is the time to act.")
  • A discourse marker to introduce a statement.

2. 'Now' as an Adverb of Time

At the beginning of a sentence, we do not commonly use a comma after single-word adverbs of time, such as "now", "today", "yesterday", or "tomorrow".

Now we know that this is not true.

Now you are a celebrity, and everyone wants to be your friend.

Consequently, if "now" answers the question of when, then no comma.

Now I have to leave.

Now that Olivia is here, the meeting can begin.

We do not use a comma before or after "now" in mid-sentence unless the particular sentence structure requires it.

I now regret it.

Everything she has right now is circumstantial.

Arguing with you now is a waste of time.

Go now.

3. 'Now' as the Subject of a Sentence

"Now" can also be a noun as well as the subject of a sentence.

Now is the moment to take action.

With few exceptions, we should not use a comma to separate a subject from its verb.

Now is the time to teach your daughter healthy eating habits.

Now is just the right time to learn a new language.

4. 'Now' as a Discourse Marker

We can also use "now" as a discourse marker to introduce a new sentence.

Now, let me say that the protocol is being implemented by our team.

Discourse markers are words that help organize our thoughts, link sentences, or join ideas.

I already know that Alice is wrong. Now, are you going to help her or not?

Introductory words, such as "now", "well", "yes", "hey", etc. should be preceded by a period or a semicolon and followed by a comma.

Yes, you are the best player of the soccer team. Now, can you help me with this?

By adding a comma after "now" we can change the meaning of a sentence.

Now I know this is a bad idea. ("Now" indicates "when". I know something I didn't know until recently.)

Now, I know this is a bad idea. ("Now" simply is a discourse marker that helps us introduce a statement. It doesn't really add meaning to the sentence.)

Recommended: Commas and conjunctive adverbs

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