Common mistake Missing comma before 'and, or, nor, yet, so, but' (incomplete)

Missing Comma Before 'and, or, nor, yet, so, but'

One of the most common grammar mistakes people make is forgetting to use a comma before words like 'and', 'or', 'nor', 'yet', 'so', and 'but' when they separate two independent clauses. This is known as a comma splice, and it can make your writing unclear or confusing.

So, what are independent clauses? They are complete thoughts that can stand on their own as sentences. For example:

  • "I went to the store." - This is an independent clause.
  • "She bought some groceries." - Another independent clause.

When these independent clauses are joined by one of the coordinating conjunctions mentioned earlier, a comma is required before the conjunction. Here are some examples:

  • "I went to the store, and she bought some groceries."
  • "He loves to play basketball, but she prefers soccer."
  • "I didn't have time to study, so I failed the test."

Notice how the comma helps to separate the two independent clauses and make the meaning clear. Without the comma, the sentences can be confusing and harder to understand.

Exceptions to the Rule

While it's generally accepted to use a comma before the coordinating conjunctions mentioned above, there are some exceptions to this rule. One instance is when the two independent clauses are very short and closely related. In these cases, omitting the comma can make the sentence flow better.

For example:

  • "I came, I saw, I conquered."
  • "She laughed and he smiled."

In both of these examples, the omission of the comma doesn't affect the clarity or flow of the sentence.

Using Linguix Grammar Checker

If you want to make sure your writing is free from comma mistakes and other grammar errors, you can use the Linguix Grammar Checker. This powerful tool will scan your text and provide suggestions for improvements, including checking for missing commas before coordinating conjunctions.

Missing comma before 'and, or, nor, yet, so, but' (incomplete) mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    She loves playing the piano and I hate it.

    She loves playing the piano, and I hate it.

  • Incorrect:
    My name is Timothy but my friends call me Tim.

    My name is Timothy, but my friends call me Tim.

  • Incorrect:
    I am really nice yet many people do not like me.

    I am really nice, yet many people do not like me.

  • Correct:
    Me and my friends went to Italy last year, but my fiancee and her friends decided to go to France.
  • Correct:
    He had met his uncle and his aunt, before he flew to Germany.
  • Correct:
    They often argue whether it was his or her idea.
  • Correct:
    Following their unsuccessful participation in the League of Peace and Freedom, Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin and his collectivist anarchist associates joined the First International.
  • Correct:
    After they had finished their homework, Peter and his friends played soccer.
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