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Thread: Comma after but?

  1. #1
    Ever onward Horserider's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    Comma after but?

    Do you always, sometimes, or never put a comma after but? If you only do sometimes then what is the rule?
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  2. #2
    Llama Farmer TnD's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    The way I use commas has been, apparently, completely wrong. At least, that's what a couple of English teachers have told me.

    Personally, I put a comma where there is a bit of a pause.

    But, in this situation, I would.

    But as far as a general rule, I don't know for sure.

    Good enough examples for you?

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  3. #3
    cereal killer Palmfrond's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Here's the only example I can think of:

    "The living quarters of a Scottish cottage is the but, a fact few people know."

  4. #4
    Makes Things Up cameron_chapman's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Commas after 'but' are almost always incorrect, unless the phrase immediately following it is nonrestrictive (it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence if it is removed).

    I would recommend investing in a good style manual (The Chicago Manual is what seems to be used by most American publishers). It's an invaluable resource and will answer virtually all questions relating to grammar, punctuation and word usage.

  5. #5
    Well begun is half done... Mumut's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    I use it as follows. "I'd take you along but, knowing how you react, it wouldn't be a good idea." I don't put one just because there is a pause in the flow of the words. I believe that's wrong.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW June Casagrande's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    There are several rules at play -- most of them flexible.

    #1: If "but" joins two complete clauses that could stand on their own as sentences, use a comma.

    "I like apples, but I don't like oranges." BUT "I like apples but not oranges."

    #2: If something is interjected parenthetically after the "but," then the commas around that insertion will mean there's a comma right after your but.

    "I like apples but, assuming you're also interested in my feelings on citrus, not oranges."

  7. #7
    Mackinac Island Fanatic tehuti88's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    As the others have mentioned, I almost never use a comma AFTER but. In fact I usually use it before, but there are a few exceptions.

    I might use a comma afterwards but, as you can see here, there's a reason why. It was already explained much more eloquently in previous posts. I can't explain the rules of grammar but I know how to use them. *shrug*

    Hope my examples didn't muddy the waters.
    "Trust that which gives you meaning and accept it as your guide."--Carl Jung

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