TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Usage of a the word "BUT" From:"E. Forrest Christian" <efc -at- USINGIT -dot- BE> Date:Thu, 27 Nov 1997 10:27:08 +0100
> >A quick question, what is the proper usage of a comma before the word
> >"but"? I have seen it used correctly and incorrectly equally.
> >One example is below and was used with and without the comma before the
> >word "but"
Here in the land across the sea, where the language police change spellings
every now and then, our company tends to be a bit more pragmatic about English
commas. Our audience members (who speak English as a second, third, or fourth
language) like the extra clarity gained by adding the comma. We use them with
wild abandon but don't obsess over them. Our usage is not so much rule-based
(such as "only when the clauses can stand by themselves"), but stems more from
the general sense of needing a pause. Commas should aid understanding, and
where they don't, leave off.
If I remember correctly, American usage of commas differs greatly from UK and
African usage. American publications seem to delight in eliminating as much
punctuation as they can.
Thank goodness there is not an official governing body hovering over the
E. Forrest Christian
Using It, bvba
email: efc @ usingit.be
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means
just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'