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Is there a comma after BUT?

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If you type “comma” and “but” into Google, the search engine will give you some autosuggestions including: “comma after but at beginning of sentence” and “is there a comma before or after but.” According to editors and grammarians, there is no comma after the word but at the beginning of a sentence. But it is something I see a lot in sentences like “But, there were too many of them to count” or “But, we were afraid the situation would get worse.” When I see these commas in the work of writers, I invariably cross them out. If I find just one, I’ll squiggle it out and put a question mark (or sometimes a frowny face) in the margin, hoping it is a typo.   If I see another instance of but followed by a comma, I’ll strike it out again and write “no comma after but.” If I see lots of instances of the initial but with a comma, I’ll suggest that the writer see me. They rarely do. It’s a small problem in the grand scheme of things, but I can’t help but wonder why writers adopt this punctuation.. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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