When to Use a Comma Before 'Yet'

If the coordinating conjunction "yet" introduces an independent clause, place a comma in front of it.

If the coordinating conjunction "yet" introduces an independent clause, use a comma before "yet".

Joe loves eating sweets, yet he knows that they are not good for his health.

Joe loves eating sweets yet he knows that they are not good for his health.

When joining two adjectives, we do not typically put a comma before "yet".

My sister is intelligent yet impulsive.

When functioning as an adverb of time, do not put a comma before "yet".

Have you finished your homework yet?

Have you finished your homework, yet?

1. When to Use a Comma Before 'Yet'

"Yet" can be a conjunction or an adverb.

  • As a conjunction, "yet" means "but" or "nevertheless" (e.g., "She is beautiful yet rude.")
  • As an adverb, "yet" can have several meanings, including "still", "also", and "so far" (e.g., "Hasn't she come yet?").

You can use the coordinating conjunction "yet" to show contrast between two parts of a sentence.

David is a smart boy, yet he failed his exams.

Add a comma before a coordinating conjunction, like "yet", to introduce an independent clause (a group of words with a subject and a verb that can stand alone).

Robert feels terrible because he is overweight, yet he continues to eat many sweets and pancakes.

Robert feels terrible because he is overweight yet he continues to eat many sweets and pancakes.

But the comma is generally unnecessary if the subject does not appear in front of the second verb.(1)

She loves studying physics yet hates reading about geology.

2. When to Avoid a Comma Before 'Yet'

You can use "yet" to show contrast between two adjectives. In this situation, we do not commonly insert a comma between them; however, you can optionally place a comma to add more emphasis or define a particular rhythm for the sentence.

Brian is rich yet stingy.

Brian is rich, yet stingy.

As an adverb of time, we don't use a comma before "yet".

I'm not tired yet.

Has she paid the rent yet?

3. More Examples

'Yet' as a Coordinating Conjunction (Comma)

  • James is a playboy, yet he is so romantic.
  • I told her this is wrong, yet she keeps doing it.
  • Carol doesn't like Peter, yet she often talks to him.
  • I would like to buy that dress, yet I am broke.
  • The dish tastes initially sweet, yet it offers spicy sensations on the palate.

'Yet' With No Comma

  • He is thin yet strong.
  • He is wealthy yet miserable.
  • Your friend Richard seems nice yet moody.
  • Laura is smart yet lazy.
  • This dish tastes sweet yet spicy.

'Yet' as an Adverb (No Comma)

  • Is it raining yet?
  • Amanda hasn't called me yet.
  • I have not passed my math exam yet.
  • They are not leaving yet.
  • Is your boyfriend making lunch yet?

4. Conclusion

Follow these simple guidelines to determine whether to add a comma before "yet":

  1. Place a comma before "yet" to introduce an independent clause.
  2. We do not usually need a comma before "yet" to show contrast between two adjectives.
  3. Do not place a comma when using "yet" as an adverb of time.

5. References

(1) Kaufman, Lester; Straus, Jane. The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. Chapter 2 (punctuation).

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