When to use a comma before the word “but”


Grammatical explanation

A comma should precede a conjunction separating two independent clauses.

What it means

When you put a “but” between two phrases that could reasonably be made into two sentences, there should be a comma. 

He went to the store, but she stayed home.


1. He went to the store. 2. She stayed home.

How to remember it

Use a comma only if the “but” has a noun (person, place, or thing) following it.

I hate turnips, but my mother insists on cooking them.


The comma never goes after the “but.”

Also Also

It works the same for “and” and “or” when they’re used as conjunctions.