Comma Before or After But | Rules & Examples

You must put a comma before “but” when it connects two independent clauses. An independent clause can function as a standalone sentence (i.e., it has a subject and a verb).

Example: Comma before “but” connecting two independent clauses
Maria hoped to go for a walk, but it rained all day.

You must use a comma after “but” only when you include an interrupter. An interrupter is a word or phrase used to emphasize or qualify the statement and to express mood or tone.

Example: Comma after “but” when using an interrupter
But, of course, Natia knew that more guests would arrive.
Note
The same rules apply to using commas with the other major coordinating conjunctions, namely commas before and after “and”, and commas before and after “or.”

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Apart vs. A Part | Difference & Example Sentences

Apart and a part are pronounced similarly but have different meanings and grammatical roles.

  • Apart (one word) can be used as an adverb and adjective to describe separation or distance. It can also be used as a preposition in the phrase “apart from” to mean “except for.”
  • A part (two words) is a noun phrase meaning “a piece” or “a segment” of a greater whole. It can also refer to an acting role.
Examples: Apart in a sentence Examples: A part in a sentence
The tent was blown apart by the wind. Julie asked to be a part of our group.
The US and Europe are miles apart. He’s a respected actor who has played a part in Hamlet.
The siblings were born years apart A part of the puzzle is missing

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Comma Splice | Definition, Examples, & Rules

A comma splice is a grammatical error that occurs when a comma is used to join two independent clauses without a conjunction. An independent clause can function as a standalone sentence, because it has its own subject and verb.

To fix a comma splice, you can:

  • Replace the comma with a semicolon (;) to show that the two parts of the sentence are closely related
  • Replace the comma with a period (.) to create two separate sentences
  • Add a coordinating or subordinating conjunction (e.g., “and,” “although”) to indicate the relationship between the clauses or to emphasize one of them
Comma splice sentences Comma splice corrections
Rose likes fruit, she doesn’t like vegetables. Rose likes fruit; she doesn’t like vegetables.
Eli is a volunteer firefighter, Ben is an event planner. Eli is a volunteer firefighter. Ben is an event planner.
Sam studied for his exam, he felt confident. Sam studied for his exam, and he felt confident.

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There, Their, They’re | Meaning, Examples & Difference

Their, there, and they’re are pronounced similarly but don’t have the same meaning. You can recognize which one is correct from the context.

  • There is most commonly used to mean “at that point” or “in that place.”
  • Their is the possessive form of the third-person plural pronoun “they.” It means “belonging to them.”
  • They’re is a shortened version of “they are.”
Examples: There in a sentence Examples: Their in a sentence Example: They’re in a sentence
There’s not much left to say after this fight. Ann and Paul studied for their exam. They’re working on a new school project.
Don’t go there! Joe’s aunt and uncle have asked him to feed their cats while they are away. They’re from Illinois.

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Further vs. Farther | Examples, Definition & Difference

Further and farther are related words that can have similar meanings, depending on the context. Both can refer to distances, but further has some additional senses for which you can’t use farther.

  • Farther can be used as an adjective and an adverb. It’s used to mean “at a greater distance,” whether literally or figuratively.
  • Further may be used in a similar way to mean “at a greater distance” (though “farther” is more common). But it can also be used as an adjective meaning “more,” as an adverb meaning “additionally,” and as a verb meaning “advance” or “promote.”
Examples: Farther in a sentence Examples: Further in a sentence
Colorado is farther from New York than Iowa. Further research is needed into the subject.
We were sitting farther away from the stage than I had hoped. Geoff intended to further his career through hard work and diligence.
I’ll go this far, and no farther. Further, I intend to investigate the effects of caffeine intake on the participants’ concentration.
Note
Some style guides make a stricter distinction, saying that “further” should not be used to mean “at a greater distance,” or that it should only refer to figurative distance. But there’s no clear consensus about this point, and some regional variation:

  • In US English, it’s usually preferred to use “farther” for distance-related meanings.
  • In UK English, the words are used more interchangeably to refer to distance.

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Desert or Dessert | Difference & Example Sentences

Desert and dessert are two unrelated words that are spelled similarly. They can be pronounced differently or the same, depending on the meaning.

Spelling Pronunciation Example sentences
Dessert [deh-zert] The waiters cleared the table before serving dessert.
Desert [deh-zert] The Sahara is the largest desert in the world.
[deh-zert] I begged Adrian not to desert me, but he was determined to leave.
[deh-zert] After the conviction, everyone agreed that the culprit had gotten his just deserts.

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Advice vs. Advise | Meaning, Definition & Examples

Advice is a noun that refers to an opinion or suggestion that is given. It’s pronounced with an “s” sound at the end.

Advise is a verb that refers to the act of giving an opinion or suggestion. It’s pronounced with a “z” sound at the end (though it is never spelled “advize”).

If you advise someone, you are giving them advice. Someone who advises you is an adviser or advisor.

Examples: Advice in a sentence Examples: Advise in a sentence
It took a lot of courage to finally ask for her advice. I would advise you to buy a raincoat before you travel to Ireland.
You always give advice, even when no one asks for it. If you’re unsure of which citation style to follow, your supervisor can advise you.

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Research Objectives | Definition & Examples

Research objectives describe what your research is trying to achieve and explain why you are pursuing it. They summarize the approach and purpose of your project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper, at the end of your problem statement. They should:

  • Establish the scope and depth of your project
  • Contribute to your research design
  • Indicate how your project will contribute to existing knowledge

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When to Use Its vs. It’s | Examples, Meaning & Quiz

Though they’re pronounced the same, there’s a big difference in meaning between its and it’s.

  • Its (without an apostrophe) is the possessive form of it, so it means “belonging to it.”
  • It’s (with an apostrophe) is a contraction (shortened form) of it is or it has.
  • Its’ (apostrophe after the “s”) is not actually a word, even though people sometimes mistakenly use it in place of its.
Examples: Its in a sentence Examples: It’s in a sentence
The dog chased its tail. It’s almost two o’clock.
The article contradicted its own argument. It’s best to do some research before deciding on a topic.

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Affect vs. Effect | Examples, Definition & Difference

Affect and effect are two related words that are commonly confused. They’re pronounced similarly, and in their most common meanings they both refer to change, but they have different grammatical roles:

  • Affect is a verb that describes the act of producing a change in someone or something.
  • Effect is a noun that refers to the result or change itself, as in the phrase “cause and effect.”
Examples: Affect in a sentence Examples: Effect in a sentence
Staying up late tonight might affect your performance tomorrow. Tourism has had a positive effect on the economy.
The result of the exam will affect your overall grade. The fog created an eerie effect.
The independent variable affects the dependent variable. The drug’s side effects are unknown.
Note
It’s also possible to use effect as a verb and affect as a noun, but they have different meanings and are much less commonly used than the definitions above.

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