Writing Style – Commas After But?

Taranjit’s question:  “Should we put a comma after ‘but’ in the following sentence: I am sorry to hear you’re leaving the department. But (comma?) I know you will enjoy your new position.”

BizWritingTip response: Good question. If your connecting word is only one syllable (e.g., and or but), do not place a comma after it.

Examples (correct)
I am sorry to hear you’re leaving the department. But I know you will enjoy your new position. (one-syllable connector = no comma)
You should complete the report by the end of the month. And please work with the communications department to ensure it follows our style guide. (one-syllable connector = no comma)

If the connecting word or phrase is two syllables or more (e.g., however, therefore, in addition), then you place a comma after it.

Examples
I am sorry to hear you’re leaving the department. However, I know you will enjoy your new position. (Two-syllable connector = comma)
The report must be completed by the end of the month. In addition, please work with the communications department to ensure it adheres to our style guide. (Two-syllable connector = comma)

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