The sentence is found on line C, where it says...

But, you may choose to enter “-0-” if you are married and have either a working spouse or more than one job.

Is that correct? And why? Seems rather odd that the government would make such a mistake, no?

Edit - I'm not asking if it's correct or not to put a comma after a conjunction. I'm asking if it's OK to use "But" as a substitute for "However." I'm also not asking if it's "always necessary" to put a comma after conjunctive adverbs like "however." I'm saying this because it's the government that wrote it, and the government, I'd think, would be right in doing so. I just wanted to know if it's "generally" acceptable to do that or if it's an actual mistake.

  • 1
    Certainly it’s correct: here it’s not a conjunction but rather an adverb meaning nevertheless or however. Surely the dictionary would tell you that.
    – tchrist
    Aug 6, 2015 at 13:17
  • So it's correct? Okay. That was my confusion because it's the GOVERNMENT. Since when does the government make grammar mistakes? Aug 6, 2015 at 13:19
  • 1
    Presumably, the government uses a different style guide to you. (The one I use only exists in my head, and it lets me include a comma after the first word in this comment, regardless of what other style guides say! :) Aug 6, 2015 at 13:21
  • Cool. Thanks for the info--that's exactly what I wanted to know: if it was a style issue or something else. Thanks for the answer! @tchrist no, it doesn't say so. Do a google search for "define but" and you'll see that as an adverb it's only used as "only." Aug 6, 2015 at 13:23
  • Google is not a dictionary; the OED is a dictionary—and it says “2. In a distinct member of a compound sentence (usually after a semicolon or colon); or at the beginning of a following sentence. 25. Introducing a statement of the nature of an exception, objection, limitation, or contrast to what has gone before; sometimes, in its weakest form, merely expressing disconnexion, or emphasizing the introduction of a distinct or independent fact, as the minor premiss of a syllogism: However, on the other hand, moreover, yet. In OE. ac, Ger. aber, L. autem.” General Reference.
    – tchrist
    Aug 6, 2015 at 13:51


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