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    #1

    Comma Before And

    One may put a comma before "and" to set off an independent clause, which comprises a subject and verb. So the comma before "and" in the following sentence is correct:

    He spent the day studying, and she went on a trip.

    But it was my understanding that "and" could also be preceded by a comma when the subject is understood, for example:

    He played the piano in the morning, and washed his car in the afternoon.

    In "and washed his car in the afternoon" the subject is "he" and is understood; in other words, one does not have to repeat it. However, yesterday I read an article (see Comma chameleon: How it changes the color of your meaning | Article | Homepage articles) that suggests that the comme before "and" is wrong. This was quite upsetting, since I've been using a comma in sentenes such as the one above for some time now. But I was sure that I had seen other writers do it as well, so I went to look for some examples and found the following:


    The six-year, $111 million contract he signed in 2008 is one of the biggest in NBA history, and extends through the 2013-2014 season.

    On those other nights, though, the coach could sit him down, and let more productive players take over.

    The Bobcats have spent much of the season with the NBA's best defense, and are likely to make the playoffs.

    “So he's surrounded by better players, and playing at a very high level.”

    Despite the setback, however, Milwaukee remains in solid position to nab a surprise playoff berth, and could find itself seeded as high as fifth.


    The above sentences were written by an ESPN blogger, and I'm assuming they're grammatically correct - but I don't understand why the use of the comma before "and" is correct. Could you explain why?

    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by Allen165; 09-Mar-2010 at 13:08.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Comma Before And

    The six-year, $111 million contract he signed in 2008 is one of the biggest in NBA history, and extends through the 2013-2014 season.

    On those other nights, though, the coach could sit him down, and let more productive players take over.

    The Bobcats have spent much of the season with the NBA's best defense, and are likely to make the playoffs.

    “So he's surrounded by better players, and playing at a very high level.”

    Despite the setback, however, Milwaukee remains in solid position to nab a surprise playoff berth, and could find itself seeded as high as fifth.


    The above sentences were written by an ESPN blogger, and I'm assuming they're grammatically correct - but I don't understand why the use of the comma before "and" is correct. Could you explain why?

    In my opinion the commas before "and" in those examples are incorrect. I wouldn't put the comma before "however" in the 4th example either, or before "though" in the first one.


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    #3

    Re: Comma Before And

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    One may put a comma before "and" to set off an independent clause, which comprises a subject and verb. So the comma before "and" in the following sentence is correct:

    He spent the day studying, and she went on a trip.

    But it was my understanding that "and" could also be preceded by a comma when the subject is understood, for example:

    He played the piano in the morning, and washed his car in the afternoon.
    This is, I believe, the so-called predicate, and the comma is WRONG! The fact that others do it doesn't change that.


    "He played the piano in the morning, and he washed his car in the afternoon."would be grammatically correct, but "He played the piano in the morning, and washed his car in the afternoon." is incorrect.


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    #4

    Re: Comma Before And

    Sorry I meant "compound predicate

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    #5

    Re: Comma Before And

    I agree that the comma is unnecessary when the same subject is used for both predicates, but if the full predicates are very long and you might pause there if reading out loud, then I don't object.

    Yes, this is contrary to "proper" grammar, but remember that your punctuation guides your reader like little traffic signs and a comma can say "pause here."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Comma Before And

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    The six-year, $111 million contract he signed in 2008 is one of the biggest in NBA history, and extends through the 2013-2014 season.

    On those other nights, though, the coach could sit him down, and let more productive players take over.

    The Bobcats have spent much of the season with the NBA's best defense, and are likely to make the playoffs.

    “So he's surrounded by better players, and playing at a very high level.”

    Despite the setback, however, Milwaukee remains in solid position to nab a surprise playoff berth, and could find itself seeded as high as fifth.


    The above sentences were written by an ESPN blogger, and I'm assuming they're grammatically correct - but I don't understand why the use of the comma before "and" is correct. Could you explain why?

    In my opinion the commas before "and" in those examples are incorrect. I wouldn't put the comma before "however" in the 4th example either, or before "though" in the first one.
    Is this another of those Brit/Yank things? I would certainly set off both "however" and "though" with a comma on each side, and I would feel that the commas before "and" are optional and a matter of style. Our friends over at Purdue U. agree:
    Purdue OWL
    But I'd be interested in your thinking on this.

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    #7

    Re: Comma Before And

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Is this another of those Brit/Yank things? I would certainly set off both "however" and "though" with a comma on each side, and I would feel that the commas before "and" are optional and a matter of style. Our friends over at Purdue U. agree:
    Purdue OWL
    But I'd be interested in your thinking on this.
    It seems to me that they disagree about the use of the commas before "and." Here's what rule number 13 on their site states:

    13. Don't put a comma between the two verbs or verb phrases in a compound predicate.
    Incorrect:We laid out our music and snacks, and began to study.
    Incorrect:I turned the corner, and ran smack into a patrol car.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Comma Before And

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Is this another of those Brit/Yank things? I would certainly set off both "however" and "though" with a comma on each side, and I would feel that the commas before "and" are optional and a matter of style. Our friends over at Purdue U. agree:
    Purdue OWL
    But I'd be interested in your thinking on this.
    On those other nights, though, the coach could sit him down, and let more productive players take over. I think that a pause before "though" here is unnatural. (as is the one before "and")

    Despite the setback, however, Milwaukee remains in solid position to nab a surprise playoff berth, and could find itself seeded as high as fifth. I feel the same about a pause before "however" here.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Comma Before And

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    It seems to me that they disagree about the use of the commas before "and." Here's what rule number 13 on their site states:

    13. Don't put a comma between the two verbs or verb phrases in a compound predicate.
    Incorrect:We laid out our music and snacks, and began to study.
    Incorrect:I turned the corner, and ran smack into a patrol car.
    In the "Comma Use" thread, didn’t you tell us that Patricia O’Connor said that “a case could be made” for a comma here?
    "If I were editing those sentences you quote, would I have kept the final commas? Yes and no. I think you could make a case for the commas in sentences 1 and 3, which seem to need pauses, but not in #2."
    "Yes and no", "I think", "you could make a case".
    These phrases all mean that you could use the comma if you felt it was necessary stylistically, but it's not imperative. That is, it's optional.
    As you would have found in that previous thread, people here won't agree on optional commas. I agree it's sometimes a confronting existential position to be in, but sometimes the responsibility for the choice 'to use or not to use' must remain firmly with the writer.

    PS: Consistency is a good thing though. If you like Purdue Owl style, you should probably use it. Or pick something more well-known, such as Harvard style, or MLA, or APA.
    (I hope I didn't overlook anything this time.)
    Last edited by Raymott; 16-Mar-2010 at 09:27.

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