11

Do I need a comma before "but"?

I like your car but it seems to me too expensive for you.

Or

I like your car, but it seems to me too expensive for you.

My native languages are Ukrainian and Russian. In these languages this comma is required.

10

Either is ok. Commas indicate a pause. If you want to emphasize the contrast between the two clauses more, add the comma.

By the way you don't need the "to me" in that sentence; it's implied by the fact that the sentence is written in the first person ("I" is the subject).

I like your car, but it seems too expensive for you.

Advice from the BBC:

A comma (,) generally indicates pauses in speech. But, when it joins two clauses, it indicates a contrast between two ideas. In speech it is normal to draw attention to this contrast by a slight pause. A comma is the usual way of indicating this, although it is not obligatory:

Sheila can eat anything and large quantities of it, but she never puts on weight.

I'm going to make some New Year resolutions, but I don't suppose I'll keep them

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4

Here you can find a helpful explanation:

A comma should be placed before the word but only if but is at the beginning of an independent clause.

So if it's used to mean "except", you don't need a comma.

The weather is nice but cold.

In your case, you need a comma because the part after 'I like your car' is an independent clause.

I like your car, but it seems to me too expensive for you.

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  • 2
    I don't agree. The comma is encouraged but not required. english.stackexchange.com/questions/28277/… – Jason S Nov 5 '14 at 15:42
  • I agree; it's required insofar as you want it to read well, which was all that was implied. The trend towards dropping every comma you can possibly justify omitting should be discouraged. – Carl Smith Nov 5 '14 at 16:57
0

quote: A comma should be placed before the word BUT if it is the beginning of an independent clause. un-quote

The above mentioned comma is most important if either clause is long, and the pause is needed to help with understanding. Given the shortness of your original sentence, the comma can be inserted but isn't necessary.

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  • If I might ask, what exactly are you quoting? The other answer? – snailcar Nov 6 '14 at 1:03
0

Here are the rules for commas in this instance.

'But' is a conjunction and will only have a comma before it if and only if it is linking two independent clauses (complete sentences with a subject, verb and makes sense on its own)

Your sentence:

I like your car but it seems to me too expensive for you.

I like your car. This is an independent clause because it has a subject, 'I' and a verb, 'like'. The next part of your sentence is it seems to me too expensive for you does not make sense when connected to the previous clause because I and you have different meanings.

This would make sense:

I like your car but it seems too expensive to me.

It seems too expensive to me doesn't have a subject, so it is not an independent clause it is a dependent clause.

Two independent clauses means comma otherwise no comma.

Hope this helped. :-)

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