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Thanks in advance for your help. Maybe it's the lack of sleep, but I'm over thinking commas in compound sentences where the second clause has an implied subject.

Which is correct?

a) The doctor finished the shot, and removed the restraining wires.
or
b) The doctor finished the shot and removed the restraining wires.

c) The shapes refused to come together, and became lost in a numbing darkness
or
d) The shapes refused to come together and became lost in a numbing darkness

And what if we change the coordinating conjunction?

e) She could taste blood in her mouth, but could not feel the right side of her face.
or
f) She could taste blood in her mouth but could not feel the right side of her face.
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Hi,

I'd suggest no comma in these examples. A comma would be OK if, in the writer's judgement, one or both of the clauses gets so long that a comma helps the reader to find the meaning, but sometimes in such cases it's also better to repeat the subject as a pronoun.

Best wishes, Clive
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The rule is to use a comma only when the second clause has its own explicit subject. The same rule applies to all coordinating conjunctions.

Marilyn baked a dozen cookies and ate them.
Marilyn baked a dozen cookies, and she ate them.

The first of these is called a simple sentence with a compound predicate. The second is a compound sentence.

CJ

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Again, pardon the lack of sleep. I guess I'm having trouble with the underlying rule on this one. Isn't a clause with an implied subject still considered independent?

I know this should have a comma:

The doctor finished the shot, and then he removed the restraining wires.

But, I'm having trouble understanding why this one doesn't need a comma:

The doctor finished the shot and then removed the restraining wires.

The only difference, in my mind, is whether the subject in the second clause is spelled out or implied.

Any help is appreciated...
Hi Reaver,

I know this should have a comma: Why do you think it needs a comma?

The doctor finished the shot, and then he removed the restraining wires.


Best wishes, Clive
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I guess I'm starting from the assumption that when you join two independent clauses with a conjunction, you need a comma to separate them. I guess it boils down to this question. Is it a compound sentence with a conjunction (requiring a comma) or is it a simple sentence with a compound verb (no comma)
The passage in question is part of a disjointed narrative from a character passing in and out of consciousness. AP style would remove the commas that separate the bold phrases, but I'm torn. The commas, in this case, seem to convey a specific pacing. They also speak to the character's addled state of mind.

Drawing the corner of her lip inward, she could taste salty blood in her mouth, but could not feel the right side of her face. Shapes took on a distant, twisted vagueness. She was lying on the ground, that much was certain, but the shapes refused to come together, and became lost in a numbing darkness.
Hi,

When I look at your paragraph, I think the commas are fine, and I agree with your reasoning about pacing, etc.

However, I don't agree with the idea that when you join two independent clauses with a conjunction, you need a comma to separate them. These both seem fine to me:

Tom loves Mary and he wants to marry her.

Tom loves Mary and wants to marry her.

Best wishes, Clive

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Thanks for looking at the paragraph. I really appreciate your input. As for the independent clause issue, you are correct. I have found several grammar and style manuals that emphatically state that you must have a comma in that situation. But, upon further digging, I've found just as many that say you don't (AP included). My strict adherence to that rule is undoubtedly a stylistic relic from some time in the distant past when I was told the comma was holy writ in that situation.

I do have a few of these implied clauses to clean up in the chapter I'm revising, but this particular paragraph seemed to loose something without the commas. Thanks again for your help.
The comma is not required in any of the sentences. Particularly in the instance of the word 'and', which equates the two actions, there is no sublimation, so there is no requirement for a comma. However, if there were a series of actions, as in:

The shapes refused to come together, repelled each other at each attempt, and finally became lost in a numbing darkness.

it is useful to incorporate commas for delineation of each action in the series.
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