Примечание 2. Придаточное предложение, состоящее из одного только союза или относительного слова, не отделяется запятой, например:

– Откуда? Я сказал откуда.


I have a question. What if the clause consists of two words? (either preposition + pronoun or preposition + adverb). For instance: «С кем он встречается? Я не знаю(,) с кем». Do we need a comma, and does the above-mentioned rule apply in this case as well?

  • предлоги не являются самостоятельным словом синтаксически. Commented Oct 10, 2023 at 21:31
  • When you have got a preposition plus a question word, the rule is the same (no comma). But we have авторские знаки, then a comma is possible.
    – V.V.
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


As usual, this is not codified explicitly, so we'll have to resort to analyzing actual usage.

I'm querying the corpus for:

  1. не, followed by
  2. знать (any form), followed by
  3. A preposition, except о, об, обо, про, кроме (to exclude non-clauses governed by знать), followed by
  4. The last word in a sentence.

This doesn't cover the whole body of those usages, but gives statistics wide enough and free enough of biases:

That means that in 207 cases (68%), the authors omit the comma, and in 95 cases (32%), they do use it.

I'd say that both usages are variants of the norm, with the absence of the comma being preferred.

If we take your one-word example, it would be 2251 usages total, 399 usages with the comma. That gives 83% vs 17%.

17% is quite a big number as well. A large number of authors, including Ostrovsky, Turgenev and other bearded men looking down on you from the portraits on the literature classroom walls, did use the comma.

Nevertheless, the authors of the rules decided to codify the use of the comma before a single-word dependent clause as incorrect.

  • First of all, another excellent answer! When people in forums and apps ask me for help editing their stuff, I've always written Помогу, чем могу. But if I understood correctly, ¿it's correct to write: Помогу чем могу.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 14:06
  • 2
    @CocoPop: I would use the latter but I wouldn't deem the former incorrect either. A little bit on the hypercorrect side probably.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 14:37
  • I can see that now. The things you learn on this site!)))
    – CocoPop
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 15:05

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