do you need a comma before or after 'but' let’s find out!

Do you know when to use a comma? Are you wondering if a comma goes before or after ‘But’?

There are many ways to use this literary device, so let’s start with a basic definition. A comma is a hyphen that connects an independent clause to a dependent clause.

I want to buy a new car, but I don’t have any money.

In this example, the dependent clause is the phrase “I want to buy a new car”.  The use of comma in text depends considerably on the individual preference of writers, as some avoid punctuation usage in general, while others choose to use more commas to give readers a chance to pause and take a breath.

Commas are used in pairs and sometimes may be confusing for readers. This article will explain the rules of using commas and how to use them before or after ‘But’.

Comma is a Literary Device

A comma is a type of punctuation mark that appears in many languages. The word comma is actually derived from Greek, where it means “to separate.” Its shape is similar to an apostrophe and is usually placed in the middle of a sentence. Some fonts render the comma as a small, filled-in figure nine. Some writers, however, are very strict about their use of the comma.

Commas are used to separate ideas in written texts, and their placement in a piece of writing can prevent a reader from misreading a writer’s intention. They also represent pauses in spoken language, which help readers clarify what a writer is trying to convey. As such, the use of commas varies from style to style. It is important to stick to consistent usage of the comma to avoid any ambiguity.

Commas are commonly also used to break up lists of items, such as “too many shoes.” For example:

Please get some butter, bread, and eggs on your way back.

Commas can also be used to separate appositive phrases and non-essential clauses. They help to indicate a break in the overall sentence structure, but they are not always necessary and are often omitted for efficiency. Instead, writers should be careful to use commas whenever they can.

Despite the importance of the comma in written English, it is often misunderstood. While there are ten rules that describe when the comma is necessary, there are always exceptions.

Unlike many of the other rules, the use of commas is not the same in all circumstances. For example, a comma after a conjunction indicates that one thought ends before the next.

I like eggs, but I am allergic to milk.

It stopped raining, but they stayed inside.

Besides separating independent clauses, the comma can also connect several lines of thought. When used correctly, the comma can create a sense of excitement without confusing the reader. If used incorrectly, a comma may make a sentence sound confusing and jarring. Instead of confusing the reader, a comma should be used to separate independent clauses. This will make reading easier and will ensure your work is as clear and concise as possible.

Learn More: Can You Start A Sentence with Rather? Let’s Find Out!

When to Use a Comma

when to use a comma

The comma before or after ‘But’ is used to link two independent clauses. It is often used to indicate an important difference in tense, but it is not strictly necessary to use it that way. The following examples will help you learn when to use a comma before or after ‘But’. If you use a comma before or after ‘But,’ make sure that it is used correctly.

Before: My girlfriend loves to eat muffins, but she avoids gaining weight.

After: Everyone has dreams but, and this is important, only a few are able to make them come true.

A comma is used after ‘But’ when an ‘interrupter’ comes after it. This interrupter is intended to add style, express emotion, or emphasize important thoughts. These are sometimes called parenthetical expressions, insertions, or ellipses. A good example of an interrupter is the word ‘of course.’ However, the comma is required after ‘But’ because it joins two independent clauses.

Another example of when to use a comma before ‘But’ is when a clause follows a prepositional phrase. These phrases may include modifiers, such as ‘in order to’. However, this does not mean that the sentence is complete without a comma. When to use a comma before or after ‘But’ depends on the context.

Independent clauses cannot stand alone as a sentence. They are not complete sentences. But independent clauses may stand alone and function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. Often, a comma is necessary to create a pause in a sentence. When to use a comma before or after ‘But’ should be guided by your purpose in writing.

The ‘and‘comma’ isn’t always necessary to accompany a conjunction, but it can be a helpful aid in disambiguating a sentence. When a comma is placed before an ‘and’ or ‘or’, the phrase sets off the clause. It is often used to set off a clause with more than one adjective.

Another reason to use a comma after ‘But’ is that it separates independent clauses from dependent ones. In other words, it is grammatically incorrect to use a comma before ‘But’ in this context. Using a comma before ‘But’ also sets off the third clause. You can also use a comma after ‘But’ in conjunction with the third clause in a sentence.

Put a Comma Before ‘But’

If you’re using a comma in a sentence, it means that the independent clause precedes the dependent clause. That is, the phrase that comes after the word ‘But’ does not stand alone as a sentence. That is because it is a coordinated adjective. However, if you’re using the word ‘But’ to separate two independent clauses, you should not use a comma.

The question of when to put a comma before or after ‘But’ is common in writing. This is primarily due to its use in punctuating independent clauses. However, you may also want to place a comma before or after “But” to emphasize its inclusion. The problem with using a comma after ‘But’ is that overusing it will diminish its effect. However, if you’re writing for an audience, you should make sure to use a comma before or after the word “But.”

Similarly, if the word ‘But’ is used as an interrupter, you don’t need to use a comma before or after it. This is because “But” is an interjection, and it indicates emphasis or emotion. However, in most cases, the word “But” is a comma-free phrase.

In general, a comma separates a series of words, phrases, or clauses. For example:

The constitution establishes three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.

A candidate for president promised to lower taxes, protect the environment, and end unemployment.

Final Thoughts

Adding a comma after a word such as ‘But’ can be confusing, but this article attempted to explain some of the ways you can make it look better. Commas are used to separate independent clauses from dependent ones, and the rule of one after the other is applicable to all of them. The words after a comma form a phrase, without a subject noun. A phrase without a subject noun cannot stand alone as a sentence, and therefore, needs to be connected to an independent clause.

The most common use for a comma is after a dependent clause. This kind of clause functions as an adjective or noun, but cannot stand on its own as a sentence. However, it can be used to break the comma rules when it is necessary, and is a good choice for literary texts. When writing for academic, technical, or formal texts, you should not use commas before but.

The comma can also be used for connecting words with a single syllable. However, it is best to place a comma after a two-syllable word. In addition, it can also be used to make a statement that is more formal. For example:

I love shopping, but I don’t have any money.

Another common place for a comma is between independent clauses. It is also used when independent clauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions. When this is done, a comma will appear between the independent clauses and the main clause. When it comes to linking independent clauses, Oxford commas are often used, and they help reduce ambiguity in lists.

Another common mistake that writers make is drawing an analogy between an adverb and a conjunction. The two types of words are very different, so a false comparison is not going to yield a correct result. A comma is necessary after an adverb, and a comma is the correct punctuation. Unless you know the difference, analogy will not get you where you want to go.

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Appendix:

10 rules of using commas

There are 10 rules of using commas in the English language. They are used to connect the two parts of a sentence and to place certain parts into the background.

RULE 1: A comma comes before a coordinating conjunction when both are independent clauses.

RULE 2: A comma comes after an adverb only at the beginning of a sentence, and not at the end.

RULE 3: A comma comes after a conjunctive adverb that follows a semicolon.

RULE 4: A comma comes after an introductory element.

RULE 5: Commas can be used to separate items contained in a list or series. The series needs to be three or more items.

RULE 6: Two adjectives are separated where an “and” or a “dash” can go.

RULE 7: Using commas in dates and addresses

RULE 8: Commas are used to separate information that is extra in a sentence.

RULE 9: Using commas in quotations

RULE 10: Avoid comma splices to separate essential elements of a sentence.

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