Do I need a comma here before говоря ?:

То же самое он делал и говоря со студентами пятого курса.

  • 3
    I would not put any punctuation here. – Dmitry Alexandrov Jan 26 '15 at 23:14
  • I wouldn't either. – Eugenia Vlasova Jan 26 '15 at 23:20
  • Please see the update to my original answer. – Avi Gordon Jan 29 '15 at 14:28

The verbal adverb phrase here immediately follows the predicate and functions as an adverbial modifier of manner (or maybe, of time). Comma is not required in such cases, whether or not conjunction и is used:

То же самое он делал говоря со студентами пятого курса.

Some similar examples are provided here.


I have to thank @J-mster for doubting the above. My analysis may have been misattributed.

Although the verbal adverb phrase in question appears to be a part of the predicate and to fall under the rule I quoted, it most likely conforms to another, much more straightforward, rule:

A verbal adverb phrase preceded by the enhancing particle и is not separated by the comma:

Можете уйти и не дожидаясь ответа
Он оставался скромным и победив сильного противника


The structure of your sentence is exactly the same. The verbal adverb phrase is preceded by the particle (not conjunction!) и.

I am still not entirely sure what should happen if the sentence lacks the particle и. Much as the verbal adverb phrase appears to be closely connected with the predicate, I suspect that my intuition may be misleading me here and that such sentence would indeed need the comma to separate the perfectly normal verbal adverb phrase.

I hope this time the analysis is correct and apologise for misinforming you earlier!

  • I do not think you can describe говоря со студентами as modification of manner. Here the adverbial phrases is used in its standard function (defining the time frame), so the general rule would require a comma. However, since the phrase is normally pronounced without a pause, there is a tendency to miss the comma in the informal writing. – J-mster Jan 27 '15 at 9:55
  • @J-mster: Consider То же самое он делал в беседах со студентами пятого курса. The case is as murky as Russian punctuation itself but all punctuation manuals I checked agree in liking such adverbial phrases to modifiers of manner and recommending to omit the comma. Essentially it's the same as what you say about "pronouncing without a pause". – Avi Gordon Jan 27 '15 at 10:13
  • @J-mster: Btw, Russian punctuation, unlike its English counterpart, seldom admits to following the "intonation" of the sentence but will always try to single out yet another exception based on syntactic specifics of the sentence. – Avi Gordon Jan 27 '15 at 10:19
  • @J-mster: upon reflection, you may well be right about the case with no particle! – Avi Gordon Jan 29 '15 at 15:43

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