Why is there no comma after the word yet in the following two sentences?

  1. There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.

  2. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.

Also, what is the meaning of yet, and why is it used instead of however or but?

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    There's no comma because you wouldn't pause at those points. – ralph.m Nov 27 '15 at 22:41
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    @ralph.m Where you'd pause in a sentence is a poor guide for inserting commas. Punctuation is for written text, and pauses are necessarily part of speech. – deadrat Nov 27 '15 at 23:16
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    @deadrat—couldn't disagree more. Written language is a representation of speech, and punctuation is largely a device to indicate more of that speech than just the actual words, because language is more than just words. Meaning is carried through the pauses, inflections and so on. Part of the reason people have so much trouble with punctuation is that they fail to connect with its actual purpose. It gets abstracted as a set of confusing, pretty much meaningless rules, for no purpose. – ralph.m Nov 27 '15 at 23:52
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    @ralph.m I don't believe your claim comports with the facts. Written language is much more than a representation of speech. Large swaths of text have never been spoken. Meaning, some would say most meaning, in oral communication is non-verbal -- pauses, inflections, tones, body-language, and so on, but none of that is readily available in text. The purpose of punctuation, for the most part and certainly for commas, is to clue the read into the proper parsing of the syntax. I agree with the accusation of bad pedagogy, but that's a different issue. – deadrat Nov 28 '15 at 0:06
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    "to clue the reader into the proper parsing of the syntax" … which is the purpose of pauses in speech. I disagree the written language is somehow a different beast from spoken language—whether it ever gets read aloud or not. The written word is effectively rendered as speech mentally for comprehension purposes. – ralph.m Nov 28 '15 at 3:20

"Yet" may be thought of as a synonym of "however" or "but," neither of which would be followed by a comma in the two examples you've given; however, if it follows a semi-colon (as in this sentence), it does require a comma by common convention.


Yet has a slightly different meaning to however or but - both of which are assuredly negative with respect to what precedes it, whereas "yet" is only slightly or partially negative, and does not need a comma (not for this reason, just for syntactical ones).

Yet nearly always implies that the second (negative clause) is not fully justified or explained by the first (positive) clause: "She was really well off, yet she refused to have any work done on her house."

So in these contexts, it means "but still ...", so "yet still ..." would be tautologous.

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