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Hi helpful teacher,

Should there be a comma between two main clauses that are connected by a an "and" - such as: "The stock market collapsed and Jenna lost all of her money." I found conflicting rules about this. Is there one rule in British English and another for American English, or why is there all the confusion over this?

Also....where should the punctuation be when using foot notes and reference numbers? Before them or after them? I could find no clear rule on this in many usage books.

Thanks for your time and help,

Rebecca Hansen


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Sep 21, 2003
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The general rule of thumb is as follows: If a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet) joins two independent cluases, a comma is added before the conjunction in order to separate the independent clauses:

Independent clause: The stock market collapsed.
Indpendent clause: Jenna lost all of her money.

EX: The stock market collapsed, and Jenna lost all her money.

Note that,

Webster.commnet said:
Contending that the coordinating conjunction is adequate separation, some writers will leave out the comma in a sentence with short, balanced independent clauses.
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