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    #1

    coordinating conjunctions

    Hello,
    I've been reading about coordinating conjunctions and what I have learnt is that if there are two independent sentences/clauses joined by a conjunction, then a comma is needed. I've browsed through a few fictional books to see if I've understood correctly, but I'm a little confused. Sometimes the author does not use a comma when, according to this rule, it should be used, and at other times uses a comma where there shouldn't be one. For example:

    1. And there were his mother and father smiling at him agian, and one of his grandfathers nodding happily.
    2. It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the great hall simply didn't open on to the heavens.

    (There shouldn't be a comma before and as the sencond half of both sentences are not independent?)

    1. Indeed, by next morning Harry and Ron thought that meeting the three-headed dog had been an excellent adventure and they were quite keen to have another one.

    (There should be a comma before and?)

    I have read about this 'rule' on numerous grammer sites but it doesn't seem to exist.

    Thank you for your help.

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    #2

    Re: coordinating conjunctions

    In many cases, there's scope for personal preferences with punctuation, so take 'rules' as guides or recommendations. In your examples, I don't like the comma in the second, but don't feel strongly either way about the first. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many people have no idea at all about punctuation, making it a messy area.

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    #3

    Re: coordinating conjunctions

    Quote Originally Posted by minek View Post
    I've been reading about coordinating conjunctions and what I have learnt is that if there are two independent sentences/clauses joined by a conjunction, then a comma is needed.
    ...
    (There shouldn't be a comma before and as the sencond half of both sentences are not independent?)
    That rule is wrong, as Tdol implies.
    But my main message is logical. Your conclusion doesn't follow. If there are not two independent clauses, your rule says nothing about them, so you can't apply it.

    Analogy:
    Rule: If you have a normal dog, it will have four legs and a tail.
    Misapplied rule: Then Fluffy shouldn't have four legs a tail because she's not a dog.
    (This rule says nothing about cats, just as yours says nothing about dependent clauses.)

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