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Which is more grammatical:

John does not help out, but rather, sits and plays games all day.

or

John does not help out but, rather, sits and plays games all day.

I feel like the second one is more grammatical since whatever is in the commas can be taken out and the sentence would still make sense. However, the first one has commas according to how it would sound if I said this sentence aloud.

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    None of the commas are necessary. thepunctuationguide.com/comma.html – JavaLatte Apr 25 '16 at 6:47
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    @JavaLatte - I agree. After reading the guide you point to (particularly the part at the end), I might be inclined to add a pronoun so I could leave in a comma: John does not help out, but rather he sits and plays games all day. – J.R. Apr 25 '16 at 8:06
  • @J.R. that would work. – JavaLatte Apr 25 '16 at 11:01
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If I could, I would like to add another opinion than those given in the comments.

Since the second part of your sentence is not a complete sentence, you do not need a comma before the conjunction, but.

John does not help out but sits and plays games all day.

Sits and plays games all day is not a complete sentence. Therefore, no comma is needed.

However, rather interrupts the sentence and does need to be set apart by commas.

John does not help out but, rather, sits and plays games all day.

This would be the correct way of punctuating this sentence. In fact, the link given in the first comment seems to support this point. It says...

Interrupting Elements When a nonessential word or phrase occurs in the middle of a sentence, it should be set off with commas. EXAMPLE: Your work has been, frankly, awful.

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