Tag Archives: sentences with although

The “Although” Problem

If I had to make a list of troublesome words, although would be high on the list. Yes, it’s a useful word, and – surprise! – it’s easy to use. But there’s a particular error that’s so common that I’ve even caught professional writers doing it.

Can you spot what’s wrong with this example? (If you do, give yourself a gold star!)

Chan told me she usually locked the back door before she went to bed. Although, that night she forgot. INCORRECT

There are two problems with that sentence. First, NEVER put a comma after although. Never. Don’t do it!

Second, anything that begins with although is an extra idea and must be attached to a sentence. (For a complete explanation, click here and read about Comma Rule 1.)

Here are three ways to fix today’s sentence. Take your pick – they’re all correct.

Chan told me she usually locked the back door before she went to bed although that night she forgot. CORRECT

Although she forgot to do it that night, Chan told me she usually locked the back door before she went to bed. CORRECT

Chan told me she usually locked the back door before she went to bed. However, that night she forgot. CORRECT

(That third correction is an interesting one, isn’t it? Often when writers mistakenly put a comma after although, the word they’re really looking for is however. It’s a fix that works much of the time.)

sticky notes asking if it's right or wrong

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How Do You Use “Although” Correctly?

I hear more usage questions about “although” than any other word. So today I’m going to give you a quick refresher.

Let’s look at this excerpt from a police report. What do you think? Is it written correctly?

Bates told me that he liked Lindt and trusted her. Although, he had caught her in lies several times over the years.

If you found two problems, you’re right. First, you can never put a comma after although. Second, any sentence that starts with although is an extra idea and can’t stand alone. It has to be attached to another sentence.

It’s easy to solve both problems, and there are two ways to do it with our example:

Bates told me that he liked Lindt and trusted her although he had caught her in lies several times over the years.  CORRECT

Although he had caught Lindt in lies several times over the years, Bates told me that he liked her and trusted her.  CORRECT

Here’s one more question I sometimes hear: Can you start a sentence with although? Yes, of course. You can use any word in the English language to start a sentence. Like and which can be tricky, however.

Did you notice anything about that last sentence? I didn’t write this: Although, like and which can be tricky.

I’m a professional writer, and I have to be careful with English usage. And because you write in connection with your career, you’re a professional writer too.

Man holding a pen

 

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