1 2
It is optional whether or not to put a comma before "except" or "but" when used in the following way, correct?

"You think anyone cares about me, except for you?"
"You think anyone cares about me, but you?"

I'm thinking it all depends on whether or not there is meant to be a pause at that point by the speaker. I mean, I don't think either would be grammatically incorrect if the comma was not there.

Thanks.
Regular Member840
Snarf It is optional whether or not to put a comma before "except" or "but" when used in the following way, correct?"You think anyone cares about me, except for you?""You think anyone cares about me, but you?"I'm thinking it all depends on whether or not there is meant to be a pause at that point by the speaker. I mean, I don't think either would be grammatically incorrect if the comma was not there.Thanks.
Those commas are wrong, and they disrupt the flow of reading. If you are writing dialogue, and you want pauses, you should resort to tricks rather than use commas that will call attention to themselves for being extraneous.

"You think anyone cares about me?" she asked, eyes downcast, "Except for you."
"You think anyone cares about me ... but you?" she whined.
Veteran Member6,016
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
enoonThose commas are wrong, and they disrupt the flow of reading.
What about in a case like this where the sentence is a lot longer and could use a breather?

"You think anyone with a good head on their shoulders drops by the abode of a psychotic, grouchy old buzzard like me, except for you?!"
enoon"You think anyone cares about me ... but you?" she whined.
Why did you put a space before the first dot of the ellipses and after the last one? Is that a stylistic thing or a grammatical one?

Thanks.
Snarf"You think anyone with a good head on their shoulders drops by the abode of a psychotic, grouchy old buzzard like me, except for you?!"
That is a little better, but the comma still calls attention to itself to my mind.
SnarfWhy did you put a space before the first dot of the ellipses and after the last one? Is that a stylistic thing or a grammatical one?
That is purely stylistic. There are complex rules for using the ellipsis that I never bother with unless I'm working under stricture. As a matter of fact, those three dots are not an ellipsis, which has thin spaces between the dots. I treat an ellipsis like it is a word for spacing and punctuation.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Very interesting stuff on all counts. Now let's take two different types of examples regarding "but" and "except":

1. This is how things went every single day except for the last one.

2. Many people have bad habits which are aggravated with punishment but which often pass away on their own if left unnoticed.

From what's been said, I'd say it's smoother to not have a comma before "except" in example one, but, from what I've learned pretty much my entire life, it's grammatically wrong to not have one before "but" in example two, correct?

Thanks.
Snarfit's grammatically wrong to not have one before "but" in example two, correct?
Nope. It's wrong to have one (some people are not so strict about that). A comma before "but" signals that "but" introduces an independent clause, and it does not in your sentence.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
enoon Snarfit's grammatically wrong to not have one before "but" in example two, correct?Nope. It's wrong to have one (some people are not so strict about that). A comma before "but" signals that "but" introduces an independent clause, and it does not in your sentence.
Oh, I never knew that rule. I thought you generally just put a comma before "but." Does that apply to "because" as well?
SnarfDoes that apply to "because" as well?
That is a whole nother can of worms it would be better to start a new thread for. But the general rule is to use the comma after a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses, especially "and" and "but". Also (Strunk), "Two-part sentences of which the second member is introduced by as (in the sense of because), for, or, nor, and while (in the sense of and at the same time) likewise require a comma before the conjunction."
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
So, in those cases, it doesn't matter if it's conjoining an independent clause or not, or are you still speaking of independent clauses? For example:

The judge rubbed his eyes while the courtroom remained loud with commotion.

In that sentence, I would say it's fluid and fine without any comma before "while."
Show more
Live chat
Registered users can join here