Is the following sentence correct?

Rob is not at school today, but said he would come tomorrow.

Notice that the version above does not have a subject before said. Should it be:

Rob is not at school today, but he said he would come tomorrow.

The first option sounds quite right to me, but I would like to know if there is any rule to decide whether or not we can omit the subject of a sentence - especially when the tenses in the sentences are not the same. I'm most interested in what the rule is, not just whether we need to put the subject in that sentence or not.

  • 4
    Yes, it is correct. Conjunction Reduction can apply to subjects of conjoined clauses like that. Also objects and verb phrases and lots of other stuff. A busy rule. Jan 17, 2015 at 18:47
  • 3
    I think this may be off-topic because it's an English Language Learners question. Jan 17, 2015 at 18:57
  • FumbleFingers, I disagree. A native speaker unused to writing formal English might well want to ask whether that form is acceptable. Jan 20, 2015 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


I think you need to lose the comma so that the two verbs (is and said) relate to the same subject. Once you put the comma in, you are connecting independent clauses which each need their own subject.

  • 1
    No. Commas don't affect grammar; they just represent an intonation, which does affect grammar. And that's a correct intonation for this case. Jan 17, 2015 at 19:06
  • According to OWL (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02), the comma before but is used to connect two independent clauses. Inserting a comma in a compound predicate is listed as an example of "comma abuse."
    – MJ6
    Jan 17, 2015 at 19:38
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    What is the test to tell whether you're "Inserting a comma in a compound predicate" or not? Commas before any word at all can be used to connect two independent clauses, and the second clause can start with any word at all -- not just but. Like the previous sentence. That sounds like pretty useless advice; why pick on but? Jan 18, 2015 at 5:39

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