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Grammarly thinks it's wrong to put a comma before the word because. Is that true?

On the other hand, it thinks it's wrong to put a comma before the word 'but'. Is that also true?

Examples:

I'm not aware of any spelling mistakes, because the title that I can see doesn't have any.

I'd like to ask something, but I'm reluctant to do so.

  • This question belongs on our site English Language Learners. Ask your question here: ell.stackexchange.com – Lordology Dec 17 '18 at 16:59
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    You need to give us full examples. – tchrist Dec 17 '18 at 17:05
  • @tchrist how do you feel about migrating this to ELL? – Lordology Dec 17 '18 at 17:06
  • Note that the title is misspelled. The word is "comma" not "coma". – chasly from UK Dec 17 '18 at 18:19
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    @Sophia On Stack Exchange, please add examples directly to the question using the edit link. Comments aren’t technically treated as part of the question. The site encourages editing to improve the question so long as it doesn’t invalidate existing answers or change the intent of the original poster (in this case, yourself). – Lawrence Dec 18 '18 at 13:38
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These are really two different questions—I'm only going to spend time on the issue of commas with because. (You should ask a separate question for the case of but.)


It depends on the context. Sometimes you need a comma and sometimes you don't.

Here's an excellent example and explanation from The Chicago Manual of Style FAQ blog:

Q. When do you use a comma before “because”? I feel that I never need to put a comma before “because” because any information after it is necessary. What are your thoughts?

A. I disagree. Here’s the old example that comes to mind:

He didn’t run, because he was afraid.

He didn’t run because he was afraid.

In the first sentence, “because he was afraid” isn’t necessary; the main thing is that he didn’t run, and the reason is incidental. The second sentence, which omits the comma, is unclear. It might mean that he ran, but not because he was afraid. To prevent confusion, sometimes you need the comma. For more examples, see CMOS 6.31.


To expand on that:

He didn't run, because he was afraid.

This means that the reason he didn't run was that he was afraid.

He didn't run because he was afraid.

This could be interpreted in a couple of ways:

  1. The reason he didn't run was that he was afraid.
  2. He did run but it wasn't because of fear—it was because he saw somebody break into his car and start to drive it away.

Without going into any detail, you can refer to Daily Writing Tips on the use of commas before but. However, the short answer is a particular construct will determine whether or not a comma should be used.


Postscript: This answers the question as it's currently written—which is interesting in terms of general grammar. But I have just noticed that you provided more information in comments below the question. If the question is edited to only be about those two sentences, then it turns it into one of proofreading, which is not really appropriate at any site . . .

  • Your comment and the link you've provided were extremely helpful. Thank you very much. – Sophia Dec 20 '18 at 12:05
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According to grammarbook.com, both examples require a comma:

Rule 3b. In sentences where two independent clauses are joined by connectors such as and, or, but, etc., put a comma at the end of the first clause.

An independent clause is a 'sentence' in a sentence which can exist on it's own, in this case

I'm not aware of any spelling mistakes. The title I can see doesn't have any [mistakes].

I'd like to ask something. I'm reluctant to do so.

  • Because is a subordinating conjunction. When its clause comes after the main clause, a comma is rarely used. – KarlG Dec 18 '18 at 1:48
  • Stack Exchange is an attempt to build a Q&A database. As such, instead of answering based on comments, it is better to first edit the question to include the comments so long as it preserves the OP’s intent and so long as the change doesn’t invalidate any existing answers. The edit trail is preserved, so anyone can check the original if they wish. – Lawrence Dec 18 '18 at 8:08
  • @Lawrence Like so? – A Lambent Eye Dec 18 '18 at 10:09
  • I had in mind the editing of the question itself, but your revised answer suits the Stack Exchange format much better than it did before. Thanks for participating. :) – Lawrence Dec 18 '18 at 13:24
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    I see two suggested edits by @ALambentEye to the question. One was approved in review and the other rejected. The rejected edit was the attempt to add examples to illustrate the Grammarly problem the asker was having. I can see their point -- in this circumstance we probably want the asker's exact Grammarly input. – MetaEd Dec 21 '18 at 0:22

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