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Consider this common construction: 
She ran to the end of the field and never looked back.
Or you might find this punctuation:
She ran to the end of the field, and never looked back.
I think the second is more common, but the first more correct. I analyze the sentence as containing a compound predicate, "ran" and "looked," and find no grounds for breaking it with a comma. The second style of punctuation, however, seems to apply semantic rather than grammatical principles, treating "and never look back" as warranting a comma because it signals a contrast. Still, a grammatical characterization of the second part of the sentence is needed, but what might it be? How can "and," used here, serve as anything other than a conjunction?
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Hi sd15, Welcome to the English Forums. I'm afraid all our gurus have gone home for the night.

I agree there's no grammatical justification for the comma, and I agree that you have a compound predicate.

I'd take the comma as an optional stylistic pause. Would that be semantic?

If you want the feeling, "She ran to the end of the field without looking back," surely, no comma. "Never" is way more dramatic. Does this come at the end of a paragraph? - a chapter? You could even use a dash.

I think the comma here is just another tool the author uses to play the reader, one way or the other.

Best wishes, - A.
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Avangi, I completely agree with your first post.
In a strict narrative paragraph, you don't seperate a compound predicate with a comma.
However, to create a pause, for dramatic effect, the comma is just perfect.
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Comments  
AvangiHi sd15, Welcome to the English Forums.  I'm afraid all our gurus have gone home for the night.

I agree there's no grammatical justification for the comma, and I agree that you have a compound predicate.

I'd take the comma as an optional stylistic pause.  Would that be semantic?

If you want the feeling, "She ran to the end of the field without looking back," surely, no comma.  "Never" is way more dramatic.  Does this come at the end of a paragraph?  -  a chapter?  You could even use a dash.

I think the comma here is just another tool the author uses to play the reader, one way or the other.

Best wishes,  - A.

Most authorities consider it error to use a comma where none is authorized. Only opting against an authorized is a matter of style. "Optional stylistic pause(s)" must have reasons, exhausted by syntax and semantics. Some linguists say the comma is governed entirely by semantics, but I'm not even sure whether the distinction between restrictive and non-restrive relative clauses is semantic or syntactic.For my example, I haven't seen any rule that clearly authorizes the comma. 

Your example, "She ran to the end of the field without looking back," doesn't change the writer's option for comma use, as that string could appear as "She ran to the end of the field, without looking back." But the prepositional phrase, "without looking back," makes the option understandable: you can treat "without looking back" as parenthetical or not, depending upon the intended emphasis. "[A]nd never looked back," on the other hand, can't be a parenthetical phrase or a restrictive clause, when the string isn't a phrase or a clause.

From these considerations, I conclude that calling the construction an "optional stylistic pause" is just euphemistic for error, although an error committed by educated writers and even professional editors.

I wasn't thinking of any particular role in a document, but my remarks consider only non-fiction. Maybe there's room for "optional stylistic pauses" in fiction, where even the frankest grammatical error can be justified.
Hi sd15,

<< my remarks consider only non-fiction >>

Forgive me, you caught me off guard. It's conceivable that a sentence like, "She ran to the end of the field and never looked back" might appear in a work of fiction.

I greatly appreciate your careful and thorough reply.

I wonder if you've considered posting in the Linguistics Forum? They never hesitate to chastise me when I wander accidently into their midst.

What I intended by "without looking back" was a cheap way of saying that "and never looked back" could be intended/taken as a separate idea, or simply as a modifier. I'm obviously in over my head. << exhausted by syntax and semantics >> But I assure you we have members with whom you can enjoy a meaningful discourse.

Best regards, - A.

Edit. I apologize for my testy tone. I had a bad day. At first blush your reply seemed adversarial - which would have been fine. But I really wasn't prepared to answer. I read it a few more times, and found it to be quite congenial. Thanks again for the reply.
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 BarbaraPA's reply was promoted to an answer.