[Grammar] Advanced Comma Question

EmaNekaf

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I was reading an article by Grammar Girl on comma splices (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/comma-splice?page=2), and I noticed that she used a comma in a way that I have seen before other places. I've done some digging, but I haven't been able to find the rule on why this is done in these cases. Here is the sentence from the article I am referring to: "People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing, and include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art." The "and" isn't acting as a coordinating conjunction, so why is there a comma? I'm hesitant to dismiss it as a mistake since Grammar Girl knows her stuff and I have seen commas used like this in other places. Any information you can give me to help me wrap my head around this would be greatly appreciated.
 
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probus

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EmaNeka: said:
"People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing, and include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art."

The question of "allowed" does not arise. People can and do use our beloved language any way they want. And those who are exceptionally good at it, e.g. Ernest Hemingway can earn a pretty good living doing so.
 
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Raymott

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Why do you say, 'The "and" isn't acting as a coordinating conjunction'? How would you parse it?
The comma seems to be optional, but I'd use it.
 

EmaNekaf

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Sorry if I was a little unclear. I'm still learning how to talk about grammar in proper grammar terms. I'll try to explain it more clearly. Typically, you put a comma before and when it is before two independent clauses (The cat sat on the mat, and the cat was fat). In the sentence from the article, however, "People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing" is an independent clause. On the other hand, "include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art" is not, so why is there a comma? You say the comma seems to be optional. Why is this? What are the rules on optional commas? How do you use them and why?
 

Raymott

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This is your sentence:
"People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing, and include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art."
"People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing, and [authors should be allowed to] include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art."
"People will argue that authors should be allowed to make stylistic choices about writing, and [[People will argue that] authors should be allowed to] include comma splices or whatever quirks they want as a matter of art."

There are far more than two clauses here, but let's forget about that for now. That 'and' is a coordinating conjunction.

In "I invited Bill and Jane", the 'and' is also a coordinating conjunction, but doesn't require a comma before it.

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/coordinatingconjunction.htm
 
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Tdol

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There are differences of opinion about when to put commas before and. One particular view is known as the Oxford Comma because Oxford University Press used it. Punctuation within a sentence is not always an exact science.
 
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