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: commas before and after “and”, and commas before and after “or.”

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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
Sentence with comma splice Revised sentence(s)
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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Comma Before or After And | Rules & Examples

In English, you must put a comma before “and” when it connects two independent clauses. A clause is independent when it could stand on its own as a sentence—it has its own subject and verb.

Example: Comma before “and” connecting two independent clauses
Jagmeet walks to school, and Rebecca takes the bus.

But when “and” connects two verbs with the same subject, you shouldn’t use a comma.

Example: “And” connecting two verbs with the same subject
Jagmeet walks to school and arrives late.

In this case, Jagmeet is the subject who performs both actions (walking and arriving).

Note
The same rules apply to using commas with the other main coordinating conjunctions: commas before and after “but”, and commas before or after “or.”

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