Should I somehow correct the sentence? I mean "but"

See example:

My mother language is Russian but I am also fluent in Czech.
asked Oct 01 '12 at 19:31 MegaPotap New member

2 answers


Since "but" in this sentence is a conjunction, connecting two sentences ("My mother language is Russian"; "I am also fluent in Czech"), you should put a comma in front of it:


My mother language is Russian, but I am also fluent in Czech.


You could replace "but" with "and" and change the meaning slightly:


My mother language is Russian, and I am also fluent in Czech.


If you use "but," your sentence is more of a clarification ("you might think I only speak Russian, but I also speak Czech"). If you use "and," it spins your second language as more of a positive (this would be a great way to phrase it if you're writing a résumé). They're both correct.

link comment answered Oct 01 '12 at 20:25 Actually Holly Expert

Mother tongue  and native language are the usual collocations. However, mother tongue is somewhat poetic for an application, and I recommend using native language.


There is nothing wrong with using but here, but . . . it implies that there is something wrong with Russian being your native language – which there certainly is not – because this conjunction is used for contrast:


This is good, but that's bad.

That's bad, but this is good.


If you use and, you can have two ideas of equal status: both this and that are good. You also need to use a comma to separate two independent clauses in all but the simplest of compound sentences (e.g., The clouds parted and the sun shone), which applies to your sentence.


I would word it like this:


My native language is Russian, and I am also fluent in Czech.

link edited Oct 01 '12 at 20:37 Peter Guess Expert

I can see that Holly already made the point as I was writing :-)

Peter GuessOct 01 '12 at 20:37

I made the point, BUT you made it better.

Actually HollyOct 01 '12 at 20:41

Actually, I thought the opposite. I hope one version gets the point across to MegaPotap, anyway.

Peter GuessOct 01 '12 at 20:49

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