Comma Before or After But | Correct Use & Examples

Put a comma before but when it’s used to connect two independent clauses (i.e., two clauses that each contain a subject and a verb).

Example: Commas before but connecting two independent clauses
Justin wanted to go to the party, but he was busy.

Put a comma after but only when it is followed by an interrupter (i.e., a parenthetical expression that qualifies the statement or indicates mood or tone).

Example: Comma after but when using an interrupter
But, having realized his mistake, the doctor apologized.

These rules also apply to using commas with the coordinating conjunctions “and” and “or.”

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Comma Splice | Examples, Definition & Rules

A comma splice is a grammatical error that occurs when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined using a comma. A clause is independent if it contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought.

You can correct a comma splice in the following ways:

  • Add a coordinating conjunction (e.g., “and”) or a subordinating conjunction (e.g., “because”) to clarify the relationship between the two clauses
  • Use a period (.) instead of the comma. This creates two separate sentences
  • Use a semicolon (;) instead of the comma. This indicates that the two clauses are closely related
Examples: Comma splice Examples: Comma splice correction
Eva is fast, Ken is faster. Eva is fast, but Ken is faster.
You’re a talented musician, you should be proud. You’re a talented musician. You should be proud.
I work from home, I don’t work from the office. I work from home; I don’t work from the office.

You can check for this and other mistakes using the QuillBot Grammar Checker.

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Comma Before Such As | Correct Use & Examples

The prepositional phrase “such as” is used to clarify the phrase it modifies or to introduce examples.

  • Include a comma before “such as” when it’s used to introduce nonessential examples.
  • Don’t include a comma before “such as” when it’s used to introduce essential identifying information.
“Such as” introducing nonessential examples (comma) “Such as” introducing essential identifying information (no comma)
Many European languages, such as Italian and French, are descended from Latin. Resources such as libraries and online databases are essential to student learning.
The shop sells a number of useful tools, such as hammers, shovels, and rakes. Jonah enjoys activities such as hiking and swimming.
Tip
If you’re unsure whether you need a comma, try removing the “such as” phrase. If the sentence still conveys the same basic meaning, include a comma. If not, don’t include a comma:

  • “Many European languages are descended from Latin” conveys the same meaning as the original sentence.
  • “Jonah enjoys activities” is vague and does not express the intended meaning. The “such as” clause is essential, so no comma is needed.

You can also use the QuillBot Grammar Checker to ensure your punctuation is correct.

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Comma Before Because | Correct Use & Examples

There should be no comma before “because” when it’s used to introduce a reason that is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

For example, the point of the sentence below is to explain why the project failed.

Example: Because introducing essential information
The project failed because the team lacked proper communication.

When a comma is added before “because,” the reason is no longer emphasized. Instead, the sentence focuses on the fact the project failed; the reason it failed is less important.

Example: Comma before because
The project failed, because the team lacked proper communication.

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Comma Before or After So | Correct Use & Examples

You need a comma before the conjunction “so” when it could be replaced with “therefore” (i.e., “for that reason”).

Example: Comma before so meaning “therefore”
I was tired, so I went to bed.

I was tired. Therefore, I went to bed.

Example: No comma before so meaning “so that”
Tom left early so he could arrive at the office on time.

Tom left early so that he could arrive at the office on time.

When “so” is used as an adverb, pronoun, or other part of speech, commas are generally not needed (e.g., “I hope so,” “he stayed a week or so,” “there’s still so much to do”).

Note
To learn more about using commas with other coordinating conjunctions, you can read our articles on when to use commas before or after but, commas before or after and, and commas before or.

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Comma Before While | Correct Use, Examples & Worksheet

The word “while” can be used in a couple of different ways. Whether you should put a comma before “while” depends on how you’re using the word.

You should put a comma before “while” when you’re using it to link two parts of a sentence, with the same meaning as “whereas” or “although.”

Example: “While” meaning “although”
Some students enjoy working independently, while others prefer group projects.

You shouldn’t put a comma before “while” when you’re using it to mean “when” or “during the time that.”

Example: “While” meaning “during the time that”
John slept while Eva studied.

Similar rules also apply to using commas with the subordinating conjunctions “as well as” and “because.”

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*Alot or A Lot (or Allot) | Which Is Correct?

A lot is a phrase meaning “often,” “very much,” or “a large number/amount.” People often combine the two words into “alot,” but this spelling is not listed in the dictionary and should not be used. Always write the phrase as two words.

Allot (with a double “l”) is an unrelated verb that means “distribute” or “assign.” Make sure not to confuse it with “a lot.” The QuillBot Grammar Checker will fix this and other common mistakes automatically.

Examples: A lot in a sentence Examples: Allot in a sentence
I learn a lot of new words by reading. The organization will allot funds to each department based on their needs.
Jennifer certainly talks a lot! The pandemic has led the government to allot more resources to public health.

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Comma Before Too | Correct Use & Examples

In most contexts, it’s not necessary to put a comma before “too.”

When a comma is optional, you can add one to place more emphasis on “too.”

Examples: Comma before too
  • I’m ordering dessert too.
  • I’m ordering dessert, too.

You should put commas before and after “too” when it comes between a verb and its object (i.e., a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun that is affected by the action of a verb).

Example: Comma before too
  • I hope too that you’ll join us for the party.
  • I hope, too, that you’ll join us for the party.

When “too” is used at the start of a sentence, it should also be followed by a comma (however, we advise against using “too” in this way).

Example: Comma before too
  • Too she enjoys reading mystery novels.
  • Too, she enjoys reading mystery novels.

Similar guidelines also apply to using a comma before which, a comma before “as well as,” and a comma before or after “however.”

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Comma Before Which | Correct Use & Examples

The relative pronoun “which” is used to introduce a relative or adjectival clause.

You should put a comma before “which” when it’s used to introduce a nonrestrictive clause—a clause that provides information that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Examples: Comma before “which” introducing a nonrestrictive clause
The skyscraper, which was built in the 1930s, is being renovated.

She wore a beautiful necklace, which was a gift from her grandmother.

You don’t need a comma before “which” when it’s used to introduce a restrictive clause—a clause that provides essential information, without which the sentence wouldn’t make sense or would mean something else.

Examples: “Which” introducing a restrictive clause
The cat which lives next door is very friendly.

The book which I’m reading is a bestseller.

Tip
If you’re unsure whether a comma is needed before “which,” try omitting the “which” clause from the sentence:

  • If the basic meaning of the sentence doesn’t change, a comma is required (e.g., “The skyscraper is being renovated”).
  • If the meaning of the sentence is unclear or less specific, no comma is needed (e.g., “The cat is very friendly”; what cat?).

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Comma Before Or | Correct Use & Examples

Put a comma before “or” when it’s used to connect two independent clauses. A clause is independent if it contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought.

Comma before “or” connecting two independent clauses example
We might get a late train home, or we might spend the night in the city.

However, when “or” connects two verbs with one subject, it should not be preceded by a comma.

“Or” connecting two verbs with one subject example
You can either borrow my bike or walk.

These rules also apply to using commas with the coordinating conjunctions “and” and “but.”

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