Comma Before “Yet” – Rules, Examples & Practice Sheet

16.03.24 Commas Time to read: 7min

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Commas, though small, hold significant power within punctuation rules. Particularly in the context of academic writing, their role is indispensable for ensuring clarity and effective communication. They serve to convey intended meanings accurately, introduce essential pauses, and delineate distinct ideas. Therefore, grasping comma usage transcends mere compliance with established rules to keep the precision and readability of a text.

When to place a comma before “yet”

A comma before “yet” is due in specific grammatical structures in a sentence. When “yet” functions as a coordinating conjunction, meaning it connects two independent clauses, it is necessary to place a pre-comma. “Yet” is also preceded by a comma, when it introduces a non-essential clause or phrase that adds extra information to the sentence but could be left out without changing the fundamental meaning of the sentence. A rarer case when a comma is set before “yet” is when it appears as part of a list, where it introduces a contrasting element, to clarify the structure.

The word “yet” can also act as an adverb to indicate something that has not occurred up to a specific time, an action that may happen in the future, or something more is expected to happen. In these cases, the comma before “yet” is omitted.

Additionally, when “yet” begins a sentence as part of an introductory phrase or clause, especially when it introduces a contrast or continuation of an idea from the previous sentence, there is no comma placed before it. However, it is often followed by a comma to separate it from the main clause.

Another rule to remember for not placing a comma before “yet” is when it connects compound predicates, hence, verbs or verb phrases within the same clause. Within dependent clauses that don’t stand alone as an independent sentence, the comma before “yet” is also left out.

Comma

Coordinating conjunction

Non-essential information

Part of a series

 

No comma

Functioning as an adverb

Part of an introductory phrase

Connecting compound predicates

Within dependent clauses

To keep consistency and academic integrity, it is crucial to strictly follow the chosen Style Guide for your paper. Comma rules may vary depending on the guide; therefore, it is essential to keep in mind whether the sentence structure conveys a clearer message with or without a comma.

Note: Often, when a simple contrast within a single clause is indicated by “yet,” there is no comma required, although it separates two independent clauses.

Comma before “yet”

The main rules of placing a comma before “yet” are when it acts as a coordinating conjunction, introduces non-essential information, and represents the last item of a series.

Coordinating conjunction

Functioning as a coordinating conjunction, “yet” serves to connect two independent clauses, often indicating a contrast or an unexpected outcome. Independent clauses can stand alone with a complete meaning. Here, a comma before “yet” is due to make a clear separation between the clauses.

Examples

  • She was early, yet she decided to wait outside.
  • The challenge seemed simple, yet it took hours to complete.
  • He felt ill, yet he went to work anyway.

Non-essential information

When “yet” introduces non-essential information in a sentence, it is often part of a non-restrictive clause or phrase that adds extra details that could be left out without changing the overall meaning of the whole sentence. In this case, “yet” is preceded by a comma to indicate the beginning of the non-essential information.

Examples

  • The weather was clear and sunny, yet, oddly enough, cold.
  • He agreed to the terms, yet, for some reason, felt uneasy about it.
  • The novel was critically acclaimed, yet, surprisingly, didn’t win any awards.

Part of a series

When “yet” is part of a series or a list to contrast or add an unexpected element, a comma before it can clarify the structure and meaning.

Examples

  • The recipe calls for sugar, flour, yet a pinch of salt.
  • She studies French and Spanish, yet her favourite language is Italian.
  • He enjoys painting and reading, yet prefers hiking during his spare time.

No comma before “yet”

“Yet” is not preceded by a comma when it acts as an adverb, is part of an introductory phrase or clause, connects compound predicates, and occurs within a dependent clause.

Functioning as an adverb

As an adverb, “yet” takes on the role of modifying adjectives, verbs, or adverbs, and typically, does not require a pre-comma. In this case, “yet” indicates that something has not happened up to a certain point or a lesser degree. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consider specific stylistic or contextual reasons to use a comma for clarity or emphasis, especially in more complex sentence structures.

Examples

  • Is it cold outside yet?
  • The team can improve yet further with practice.
  • He hasn’t completed his assignment yet.

Part of an introductory phrase

When “yet” is part of an introductory phrase, it typically stands at the beginning of the sentence. When it introduces a continuation or contrast of thought from the previous sentence, it is not preceded by a comma but often followed by a comma to make a clear separation from the main clause.

Examples

  • Yet, despite the obstacles, they continued their journey.
  • Yet, for all its complexity, the puzzle was solvable.
  • Yet, when we look closer, the artwork reveals a complex story.

Connecting compound predicates

Compound predicates are two or more verbs or verb phrases that share the same subject within a single clause, providing different information about the subject. When “yet” connects compound predicates within a single clause, it commonly does not require a comma before, as it links actions related to the same subject rather than separating independent clauses.

Examples

  • She plans to leave early yet wants to finish her work first.
  • They offered to help yet couldn’t find the time to do so.
  • He tried to call yet received no answer.

Within dependent clauses

Dependent clauses can’t stand alone and convey a complete meaning. They typically stand in combination with an independent clause to form a complete thought. When “yet” is used within a dependent clause, a comma does not precede it.

Examples

  • He will join us even if he arrives late yet ready to celebrate.
  • They hoped to find the missing piece yet unsure of where to look.
  • She continued working yet found time to help her colleagues.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

This practice sheet will help you grasp a proper understanding of when to use commas before “yet” by applying the knowledge you gained from this article. The correct answers are in the second tab.

  1. She worked hard all semester yet she failed to pass the course.
  2. The sun had set yet there was still light in the sky.
  3. He is very young yet incredibly wise for his age.
  4. It rained all week yet the flowers did not bloom.
  5. She wanted to stay awake yet felt extremely tyred.
  6. They offered him the job yet he decided to decline it.
  7. The recipe seemed easy yet required unusual ingredients.
  8. She hadn’t seen him in years yet recognised him immediately.
  9. The path was steep yet they reached the top without stopping.
  10. He forgot his lines during the rehearsal yet performed flawlessly.
  1. She worked hard all semester, yet she failed to pass the course. (Comma)
  2. The sun had set, yet there was still light in the sky. (Comma)
  3. He is very young yet incredibly wise for his age. (No comma)
  4. It rained all week, yet the flowers did not bloom. (Comma)
  5. She wanted to stay awake yet felt extremely tyred. (No comma)
  6. They offered him the job, yet he decided to decline it. (Comma)
  7. The recipe seemed easy yet required unusual ingredients. (No comma)
  8. She hadn’t seen him in years yet recognised him immediately. (No comma)
  9. The path was steep, yet they reached the top without stopping. (Comma)
  10. He forgot his lines during the rehearsal yet performed flawlessly. (No comma)
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FAQs

A comma before “yet” is only required when it acts like a coordinating conjunction, connecting two independent sentences, introduces non-essential information, or introduces the last item in a series.

“Yet” is commonly used in the middle of the sentence when it expands or adds to the content of a previous sentence or the sentence itself.

“Yet” functioning as a conjunction means “nevertheless” or “but.” It typically indicates contrast or continuation.

Example: Her novel was rewarded the bestseller of the year, yet she is determined to write a better one.