Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Q. Hi, Chicago—I’m replying to your email answer more than seven years later because I’m still trying to wrap my head around punctuating sentences like these:
She was still so shocked, it took her a while to find her voice.
He was so fixated on his game, he had no idea I’d entered the room.
Do they require the comma? Based on your seven-year-old email reply (“I don’t know of any such rule”), I’ve been deleting most such commas. Occasionally, I’ll replace the comma with a semicolon. But I guess what I’d like to know now is this: Is there any rule (preferably somewhere I can cite) that governs this type of sentence?
A. I’m happy to report that after seven years of intensive focus on your question, the CMOS team has still not encountered a rule for this. Please note that when it’s this hard to find a rule, it’s likely that nobody knows one or cares. We hope this helps you move on. If not, please write again in 2020.