I made a bunch of businesses cards, but I am afraid I may have messed up the grammar... I have been reading now about commas, and it is possible that the ones before "but" should not be there. I believe they are "unnecessary", since the two parts of the sentences present separate actions, but in the second parts the nouns are missing. Also, not sure about the commas at the end of each line and the capital letters after them. Can anybody tell me if there are any mistakes? Thanks! enter image description here

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    It is not an advertisement, but if the link is a problem, I will censore it. I wanted to show the business card so that people can get better idea. Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


The commas are fine because if you were speaking those words you would pause at just those points, and you can mark a pause in speaking with a comma if you want to.

If you were really being picky then you would not begin successive clauses of the same sentence with a capital letter. But I doubt whether being picky is the right attitude to approach a humorous business card. In my opinion the text looks better with capital letters there than without.

And, what is more, it is conventional to begin successive lines of poetry with a capital letter whether or not they are at the beginning of a new sentence. It is certainly arguable that what you have on the card is humorous verse rather than prose.

  • Thanks for the answer, it would have been disappointing to have hundreds of cards which are typed wrong. The 4 verses are actually a famous riddle, the answer is "river" :) Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 23:24
  • Would you mind citing an authoritative source for your "for every pause a comma" suggestion, especially since those commas would otherwise be errors?
    – KarlG
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 23:39
  • @KarlG do you say the commas should not be there? I found a bit of contradicting information when looked for it. I concluded they are "optional", but I am not sure. Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 1:11
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    The rule is: no comma unless the conjunction joins two independent clauses, and even then, if the clauses are short, you may omit the comma. So: We originally wanted to go to Antwerp, but then John decided he really wanted to go to Amsterdam instead. Independent clauses: we wanted, John decided. Comma. We originally wanted to go to Antwerp but later decided on Amsterdam. Compound verb: we wanted but decided. No comma.
    – KarlG
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 2:46
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    @KarlG Fraser, The Complete Plain Words, HMSO, 1973:"The use of commas cannot be learned by rule...stops have two kinds of duty. One is to show the construction of sentences - the 'grammatical duty'. The other is to introduce nuances into the meaning - 'the rhetorical duty'." In this case we are in the latter territory.
    – JeremyC
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 9:44

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