Posted by: Jack Henry | March 10, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Comma Questions

Dear Editrix,

I’m wondering if you can answer these questions for me about commas.

§ It has been driving me nuts lately that people have been putting a comma after “but.” For example, “I was going to go for a run but, then it started raining.” It is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Is there any case in which putting a comma after “but” makes sense?

§ Is a comma needed before “too”? For example, “I asked about that, too.” I see this used inconsistently.


Miss B.

Dear Miss B.,

What interesting questions! Let’s start with that comma after the conjunction. Nails on a chalkboard is right! It looks like someone remembered a little something about grammar class, but it wasn’t the correct something. What we have here are two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. While we often see these clauses joined by and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet, the comma comes before the conjunction. For example: I was walking to the store, but then I decided to ride my unicycle instead.

As for your second question, I am from the school that uses a comma with the word too when it is being used in place of also. I just always figured that was a rule. When I did a little digging; however, I discovered that it is less of a rule and more a matter of style. While many of us learned this as rule, it seems that commas are not required in these instances:

§ I, too, have decided to become a basket weaver. (Though the commas in this case provide emphasis.)

§ Bob said his brother resembled Al Capone, too.

I’d still include the commas, but that’s just me. You are free to forego them if your style is different.


NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: