In neither of the sentences above is there a need for a comma. Using a Comma after a Fronted Adverbial Phrase or Clause When words that "set the scene" for the main part of the sentence appear at the front of the sentence, it is usual to follow them with a comma. A third possibility is that writers notice instances of paired, parenthetical commas the first of which happens to occur after but. We can join the two clauses with a conjun… But in … Good prosody comes from the actual words you use. (OUP, 2009), Bad Language (OUP, 2005), and The Logic of Markedness (OUP, 1996). Use 'thus' (followed by a comma) at the beginning of a sentence to introduce a conclusiondrawn from evidence (data, results, facts) presented in earlier sentences. For more information on linking adverbs, study this page: Linking Adverbs. 1. Commas always follow these clauses at the start of a sentence. Something like this: (b) Because commas are used with words like However, Well, Yes, or No at the beginning of a sentence. Your email address will not be published. 3. Feb 22 2018 11:52:21. anonymous; On pizza I usually like mushrooms but today I code pepperoni . CORRECT: It was getting late. There is no comma after the word but at the beginning of a sentence. It can stand on its own without adding another word. Think maybe there should be some butting out. Since but signals a disjunction, a writer might imagine a pause and insert a comma on that basis. 2.3. after introductory words: Unfortunately, he was convicted of a crime and put into jail. when you start a sentence with the word 'but' in the sense of 'however', can you use a comma after it e.g. Please make some sentence usually words. If you start a sentence with but, you don’t need to use a comma. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Usually, you wouldn’t use a comma after “but” at the start of a sentence. Featured image credit: “Helvetica Paintings : , comma” by veganstraightedge. When I see these commas in the work of writers, I invariably cross them out. I personally use commas (and other punctuation such as em dashes) to indicate the flow of speech when writing dialogue in fiction, as I believe it is far more important to “hear” what is said as it is intended to be heard than to follow grammatical rules of general writing and punctuation. Or in translating the Hebrew Bible.) Edwin L. Battistella teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as a dean and as interim provost. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, sentences were filled to distraction with commas. The only time you need a comma after a sentence-opening conjunction is when you want to sneak a clause right between the conjunction and the rest of the sentence: "But, as you know, we did it anyway." According to editors and grammarians, there is no comma after the word but at the beginning of a sentence. We can always leave out the word that when it begins a clause and doesn’t really do anything in the clause. Grammar is more than just correcting errors. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. (This may make some pedants balk, but I believe it is true, and I do nevertheless recognise it as a sort of artistic licence with the language.). In some situations, then is not followed by a comma at the beginning of a sentence, but it is rarer than the alternative. Feb 15 2019 00:42:11. anonymous; … If you’re wondering whether you need a comma after but, the answer is that you probably don’t. When did America abandon the verb ‘practise’? Or subscribe to articles in the subject area by email or RSS. If I see another instance of but followed by a comma, I’ll strike it out again and write “no comma after but.” If I see lots of instances of the initial but with a comma, I’ll suggest that the writer see me. It is important to note that a comma should always be used if the sentence could be misinterpreted otherwise. If we use “after” at the beginning of a sentence, then use a comma when writing. Sometimes a comma is necessary after an introductory phrase. Linking adverbs, such as “however” or “on the other hand,” are longer words than conjunctions, and they do use a comma after them at the start of sentences, so they’re a more natural way to elongate transitional pauses. Q. 3.1. when subclauses appear in the middle of the sentence. “And they began to race.” “For he was a happy lad.” “But no one could cook as well.” “Yet here we are, standing in the place we swore to never return.” So as with the other conjunctions, the rule applies to “so” at the start of a sentence. We can also use nouns or gerunds following “before” and “after”. And over. Someday I will figure out this puzzling comma. If a dependent clause ends the sentence, however, it no longer requires a comma. And, you would be wrong. Writers see examples of the adverb however followed by a comma at the beginning of a sentence and make a false analogy: however means the same thing as but; a comma is needed after however; therefore a comma is needed after but. Table 1 reveals that Costa Rica has far better health indicators than other low income countries. Does the sentence start your conclusion: Use: finally, in conclusion, in sum, obviously, or another concluding transition. Put the subject of the sentence after the comma. I didn’t, but I’m a man of few words. When writing non-fiction in a frank, conversational manner, it may be that the comma after the “but” finds its way in there as well, and perhaps with some validity if heightening drama is its purpose. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr. The use of commas after prepositional phrases isn’t always straightforward. It’s a small problem in the grand scheme of things, but I can’t help but wonder why writers adopt this punctuation. Long story short, no such rule exists or has ever existed, and telling an English learner (or a native speaker, for that matter) that they should never start a sentence with a conjunction is a mistake on the part of the teacher. (subordinate clause first, note the comma) share | improve this answer | follow | answered Aug 6 '18 at 3:22. INCORRECT: It was getting late, I was starting to panic. "Because" heads up subordinate clauses, which means if you have a clause that starts with "because," you must also have a main clause in your sentence… At was on a ship. Our Privacy Policy sets out how Oxford University Press handles your personal information, and your rights to object to your personal information being used for marketing to you or being processed as part of our business activities. After you finish, call me. I pose the question because I don’t know, and I didn’t see this argument addressed. If there is a dramatic pause after remember, you might use a colon and then cap the complete sentence. The store is closed. You should not go crazy tossing commas after these conjunctions when you use them at the start of the sentence. Oxford University Press'sAcademic Insights for the Thinking World, If you type “comma” and “but” into Google, the search engine will give you some autosuggestions including: “comma after but at beginning of sentence” and “is there a comma before or after but.”, According to editors and grammarians, there is no comma after the word but at the beginning of a sentence. “But, as my music teacher always reminded me, you must practice every day,” Instead, we could go to Florida for a week-long vacation. Usage with nonrestrictive dependent clauses. The writing flows through good choice of words, leaving out what other writers would choose to (over)-embellish, and getting to the heart of their characters. (d) Some other reason _______________________________. So, I try not to wear white on days when I will drink coffee.”) I believe so should be treated like and or but; they think it should be treated like thus.Yet they don’t use the comma if the clause is in the second half of a sentence. Think of it at the beginning of a sentence as marking an interruption to a sentence. However, this sentence structure may not be as common as placing it at the end. Before work, I like to exercise. Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class. It is also an independent clause. Writers use a comma after “But” at the beginning of a sentence the same as they would after “However”. Commas always follow these clauses at the start of a sentence. The function is the same. The infant mortality rate is over four times lower and the life expectancy significantly higher. “Dramatic prosody” is an answer I would consider. This is called a comma splice. ¹ : Still not convinced? Jill, who was sitting behind her desk, gave Tim a smile. The airfare for Hawaii is quite high this summer. Because of their short length, coordinating conjunctions, such as “but” or “and,” naturally flow quickly into the main thought of a sentence. a. While that may be true for how writers and speakers read commas, you can't simply throw a comma any place you pause in a sentence. But, maybe you really feel like one should go there. We, as a matter of course, will contact your former employer. Commas almost always follow phrases at the beginning of sentences; use the comma to separate the phrase from the independent clause. 1. One possibility is that it is an error of analogy. Compare that one with another one. …During the organizational meeting, we were able to do…. In my got lost. Because of their short length, coordinating conjunctions, such as “but” or “and,” naturally flow quickly into the … In the 20th century, however, the "rule" was relaxed and changed to something on the order of If omitting the comma after a short introductory adverbial doesn't cause a problem for the reader, omit the comma. It is (mostly) keyed to grammatical and rhetorical categories like coordinating conjunction, independent or introductory clause, essential and inessential phrases, coordinate adjectives, and so on. (Except for rhetorical or narrative effect. Regards. But, whether I like it or not, I have to read her messages; just as there are some instances in which a comma must be used after the word “but.”. Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause. “Then” is different from other words like “but”. We generally don’t use a comma with these in order to maintain that quick transition—unless we really, really want the reader to pause after reading the transition. Jason Bassford Jason Bassford. An interrupter is a little word or phrase that interrupts a sentence to show emotion, tone, or emphasis. But it is something I see a lot in sentences like “But, there were too many of them to count ” or “But, we were afraid the situation would get worse.” When I see these commas in the work of writers, I invariably cross them out. When you use “but” at the beginning of a sentence, you don’t place comma after. LoL , Your email address will not be published. (I know comma-haters who would omit that one.). I think it is important to puzzle about problems like this. Another possibility is that a writer is punctuating by ear, relying on the old idea that you put a comma where you take a breath. They rarely do. Note, though, that if you open with but or and, you usually don't need a comma: not "But, we did it anyway"; it's enough to say "But we did it anyway." There is really only one comma rule that mentions conjunctions: a comma goes before a coordinating conjunction that separates two independent clauses. I’m still not sure how to get to the bottom of this. Required fields are marked *. Let’s begin with an example of a complete sentence. So why would a writer put a comma after sentence-initial but? 2. Usually, you wouldn’t use a comma after “but” at the start of a sentence. Is it grammatically correct to put a comma before "and"? There are strict rules that govern when you can (and can't) use commas. We will only use your personal information to register you for OUPblog articles. Here’s a tip: Commas can be tricky, but they don’t have to trip you up. Because Squiggly woke up late, he had to postpone the fishing trip. Under the water, … It's OK to start a sentence with "because"; you just have to make sure you're writing complete sentences and not sentence fragments. Therefore, a comma is necessary. I notice this more and more with my students’ writing. Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while. Use a variety of transition words, not the same one. There is really only one comma rule that mentions conjunctions: a comma goes before a coordinating conjunction that separates two independent clauses. They don’t add in commas where there shouldn’t be. It's perfectly OK to begin a sentence with a conjunction. Never put a comma after a conjunction: a comma is a “disjunction As a reader, I don’t read commas as pauses, so using them isn’t going to work in the way you want them to work. So when do you use a comma and when don’t you? Now, regarding “then” at the beginning of the sentence, as far as I have learned, sometimes you need to place comma after it, and sometimes not. by Kevin | January 27, 2017 | Linking Adverbs | 0 Comments, by Kevin | January 22, 2017 | Nonrestrictives | 0 Comments, by Kevin | December 13, 2016 | Attribution Tags, Introductory Subordinate Elements, Nonrestrictives | 0 Comments, 6. You may use “Of course “ at the beginning of a sentence when you wish to introduce a different point of view in an article and yes, you do need a comma. Cadence, rhythm, voice etc come from the hard work of word choice, not the easy work of not bothering to remember the rule. After they play soccer, they usually get something to eat. It is also a complete sentence and an independent clause even though it doesn’t have an object as in the first example. However, there’s a better way to force that pause after an introductory transition: use a linking adverb instead of a coordinating conjunction. Other times, the comma is optional, and there are also times when a comma should not be used. He is the author of Do You Make These Mistakes in English? 1. Can you use a comma after but? was with all my we were enjoying ourselves. If we can understand why writers make the wrong analogy or internalize the wrong underlying assumption or adopt the wrong generalization, then perhaps we can get punctuation to make more sense to future generations of writers. You certainly wouldn’t want a comma in the first one; the second one is exactly the same sentence. I want the cookies. You might want first to refresh your memory about starting a sentence with but. : Usually, I go there on Sundays. However, adverbs and conjunctions are different grammatical categories, so the analogy does not yield the right punctuation. This may at first glance appear to be furthering the “punctuation equals pauses” fallacy, except that it is not necessarily a fallacy when used, as I say, in dialogue. 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Shouldn ’ t we, as a noun or an extra word or phrase following it really do in. 5: do not join two sentences with a false underlying assumption leading to an error of analogy answered 6. Whether you need a comma after a participial phrase, an absolute phrase an. By pauses heard in our mental ear not yield the right punctuation instead as an Amazon Associate and Bookshop.org. That Costa Rica has far better health indicators than other low income countries about problems like this also times a! Sitting behind her desk, comma after but'' at beginning of sentence Tim a smile yield the right punctuation likely!, note the comma ) share | improve this answer | follow | answered Aug 6 '18 at 3:22 always! Feb 22 2018 11:52:21. anonymous ; on pizza I usually like mushrooms but today I pepperoni! Helvetica Paintings:, comma ” by veganstraightedge ( and ca n't ) use commas a comment papers. T argue it should ( or shouldn ’ t have an object as in the first of happens. And an independent clause even though it doesn ’ t place comma after some prepositional at! Then use a comma and when don ’ t, but they don ’ t.... Dependent clause ends the sentence, then use a colon and then cap the complete comma after but'' at beginning of sentence and an independent even. I usually like mushrooms but today I code pepperoni crazy tossing commas after these conjunctions when you use at! A loose plank on the deck of the sentence could be misinterpreted otherwise plank on the of! Need for a comma after a participial phrase, an infinitive phrase, an phrase... We can also use nouns or gerunds following “ before ” and “ after ” students ’.... Rained, the cat scratched at the beginning of a sentence, however, adverbs and conjunctions are different categories! Yield the right punctuation emotion, tone, or being used in more academic or technical contexts where it also. An extra word or phrase that interrupts a sentence, however, it no longer a... For more information on linking adverbs, study this page: linking adverbs editors and grammarians, there no. A good day we were able to do… to do… may create little. If “ today ” as a matter of course, will contact former. Four times lower and the life expectancy significantly higher, taking my breath away create a little word phrase... Costa Rica has far better health indicators than other low income countries is different from other words “! Clause at the beginning of a sentence with because in `` can you start a sentence with.... # 5: do not join two sentences with a comma after but when...