As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through (, and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting:

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

comma with coordinating conjunction but

Please, clarify why we use comma and but for the following sentences:

Modern devolution has given significant powers back to each country, but on an uneven basis

The second sentence "on an uneven basis" is independence class? does it stand on it's own? does it has subject and predicate?



  • Hello @APRAJAN

    Fowler’s Modern English Usage_ is helpful for queries like this (available on our Premium site). This is what it has to say about commas:

    To separate the main clauses of a compound sentence when they are not sufficiently close in meaning or content to form a continuous unpunctuated sentence, and are not distinct enough to warrant a semicolon. A conjunction such as and, but, yet, etc., is normally used: The road runs close to the coast, and the railway line follows it closely. It is incorrect to join the clauses of a compound sentence without a conjunction (the so-called ‘comma splice’):

    ☒ I like swimming very much, I go to the pool every day. (In this sentence, the comma should either be replaced by a semicolon, or retained and followed by and.) It is also incorrect to separate a subject from its verb with a comma:
    ☒ Those with the lowest incomes and no other means, should get the most support. (Remove the comma.)

    A comma also separates complementary parts of a sentence, and can introduce direct speech: Parliament is not dissolved, only prorogued / The question is, can this be done? / He then asked, ‘Do you want to come?’.

    I hope this helps.

Sign In or Register to comment.