A question on punctuation:
(1) Sometimes, I write sentences which require a comma - like this one. (2) Sometimes - when I feel inclined to do so - I add an aside, enclosed by two dashes, to my sentence.
What happens to the comma when I do both. My logic says that the mere fact there is an aside, enclosed by two dashes, does not remove the need for the comma. According to my logic, the second dash should be followed by a comma. I have looked through a few books on the English language but haven't found anything which confirms or contradicts my way of thinking. In 'The Oxford Companion to the English Language' I found the following under the header 'Punctuation':
"The following extract shows commas, brackets, and dashes used in one fairly long sentence:
' The why and wherefore of the scorpion - how it had got on board and came to select his room rather than the pantry (which was a dark place and more what a scorpion would be partial to), and how on earth it managed to drown itself in the ink-well of his writing-desk - had exercised him infinitely.' (Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer)"
This sentence contains an aside within an aside. The outer one uses dashes, the inner one uses brackets. The closing bracket is followed by a comma, obviously because the comma is required with or without the aside. Would the same apply if the part 'which was a dark place ...' had been enclosed in dashes? (Obviously not in this sentence, because dashes are used for the outer aside.)
What do the experts say?
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A question on punctuation: (1) Sometimes, I write sentences which require a comma - like this one. (2) Sometimes - ... in dashes? (Obviously not in this sentence, because dashes are used for the outer aside.) What do the experts say?

You give a good example of why Conrad, though a good writer, can't be regarded as a good writer! He beats Henry James for my money every time; but that's my weakness.
There's rarely any excuse for a parenthesis within a parenthesis; but, to be fair to Conrad, perhaps it's used here to suggest vague wondering. The em-dash is usually my lazy way out of thinking hard about punctuation: and if one finds one which needs a comma after it, I think it's time to go back and change the sentence, or maybe replace dashes with brackets.
From your quotation "...the pantry (which was a dark place and more what a scorpion would be partial to), and how on earth..." seems to me a good example of the need for a comma after a bracket: I certainly wouldn't have missed it out.
Mike.
A question on punctuation: (1) Sometimes, I write sentences which require a comma - like this one. (2) Sometimes - ... I add an aside, enclosed by two dashes, to my sentence. What happens to the comma when I do both.

If a comma and dash would come together, normal practice is to suppress the comma.
My logic says that the mere fact there is an aside, enclosed by two dashes, does not remove the need for the comma. ...

English does not have the simple logical syntax of a programming language. There are several cases where a "weaker" punctuation mark is suppressed due to an adjacent "stronger" one. One obvious example is where the aside comes at the end of a sentence, so that the closing dash would logically fall adjacent to the period, as in the next sentence. The closing dash is then suppressed - whether you are inclined that way or not.
What do the experts say?

This reply is not based on what "experts" say.

Mark Brader "I'm not good in groups. It's difficult to Toronto work in a group when you're omnipotent." (Email Removed) "Deja Q", ST:TNG, Richard Danus

My text in this article is in the public domain.
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A question on punctuation:

The closing bracket is followed by a comma, obviously because the comma is required with or without the aside. Would ... in dashes? (Obviously not in this sentence, because dashes are used for the outer aside.) What do the experts say?

I say no, but I'm no expert.
Tired rant: Commas to the left of opening brackets are becoming quite common in supposedly top-notch newspapers and periodicals, sometimes with commas to the right of the closing brackets, sometimes without. How many stages of proof-reading must such scribblings pass through before they reach the press? (Probably only one, if you're lucky, these days, but I don't think that's why sloppy and clueless professional writing appears to be on the increase. The answer, I think, is that it *is* on the increase. If you see what I mean. Innit.)

Mickwick
Subject: Re: Dash followed by comma (-,) From: "Mike Lyle"

Ooh, I loove punctuation threads.
"The following extract shows commas, brackets, and dashes used in

I'm not quite sure what the "experts" say, but I believe it's poor style to use more than one set of parenthetical dashes in a single sentence, because the reader can too easily become confused about what is in parenthesis and what is part of the containing sentence. That doesn't apply when both dashes and brackets are used. And it's perfectly all right, in my opinion, to use brackets within paired dashes or paired dashes within brackets, so long as you keep a grip.
You give a good example of why Conrad, though a good writer, can't be regardedas a good writer!

It's a matter of opinion, but, though I agree Conrad can be clunky, I like this sentence, despite its old-fashioned air because of the rhythms released by the layers.
There's rarely any excuse for a parenthesis within a parenthesis;

Unless it's done as well as this.
On the general point, the dash supersedes and acts for any comma it replaces, I'd say.
Peasemarch.
Subject: Re: Dash followed by comma (-,) From: "Mike Lyle"

It's a matter of opinion, but, though I agree Conrad can be clunky,I like this sentence, despite its old-fashioned air because of the rhythms released by the layers.

There's rarely any excuse for a parenthesis within a parenthesis;

Unless it's done as well as this.

Well, I did say: "There's rarely any excuse for a parenthesis within a parenthesis;
but, to be fair to Conrad, perhaps it's used here to suggest vague wondering."
Mike.
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How many stages of proof-reading must such scribblings pass through before they reach the press? (Probably only one, if you're ... the increase. The answer, I think, is that it *is* on the increase. If you see what I mean. Innit.)

Something there is in the educated British mind which abhors precision. Since the things the nation is best at are music and scientific research, I have never been able to understand this.

Mike.
Something there is in the educated British mind which abhors precision. Since the things the nation is best at are music and scientific research, I have never been able to understand this.

Don't know so much about music. Much as I love Elgar and Vaughan Williams, there has been no British Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

There was a brief and glorious period in the 1960s when we were the world's best at pop/rock music, but that's long gone.
Mike M
Something there is in the educated British mind which abhors ... scientific research, I have never been able to understand this.

Don't know so much about music. Much as I love Elgar and Vaughan Williams, there has been no British Bach, ... brief and glorious period in the 1960s when we were the world's best at pop/rock music, but that's long gone.

I was thinking of the British performers and orchestras. It's statistically preposterous for a country this size and with such a perfunctory education system to have so many successes.

Mike.
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