When to Use Commas With 'Obviously' and 'Naturally'

When using "obviously" or "naturally" as regular adverbs, to modify a single word, we do not typically place a comma to separate them from the verb, adjective, or adverb they describe.

When using "obviously" or "naturally" as regular adverbs, to modify a single word, we do not typically place a comma to separate them from the verb, adjective, or adverb they describe.

Cotton is a naturally grown fabric.

Cotton is a naturally, grown fabric.

When using these adverbs to express your judgment, opinion or viewpoint (frequently at the start of a sentence), use commas to set them off.

Obviously, she is the best singer of all time.

1. Commas With 'Obviously'

"Obviously" can function as a:

  • Regular adverb, describing a single word (e.g., "Your watch is obviously expensive.")
  • Sentence adverb, reflecting the speaker's judgement, attitude, or opinion (e.g., "Obviously, I was impressed by the kindness of the people.")

We do not generally use a comma to separate a regular adverb from the verb, adjective, or adverb it describes.

Rebecca is obviously distressed.

This is obviously impossible.

This is obviously going to be a game-changer.

However, we can also use the word "obviously", as a sentence adverb, to introduce a sentence or express our judgement. In situations like these, we normally use commas to set off the sentence adverb.

Obviously, I was impressed by the long list of contributors.

Similarly, we often use commas to set off the expression "of course" when describing our point of view about something.

2. Commas With 'Naturally'

We do not generally use a comma to separate "naturally" from the word it describes.

There are no rules to it; it'll come naturally.

In the example above, "naturally" is a regular adverb, modifying the verb ("come"), so no comma.

Two more examples:

Consumers prefer naturally grown foods.

Zinc can be found naturally in asparagus and pumpkins.

We can also use "naturally" as a synonym of "obviously" to express the speaker's point of view or attitude. In this case, use commas to set off "naturally". The commas are a signal that the adverb modifies the whole sentence that follows and not just the word that follows.

Naturally, children should not go there without adult supervision.

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