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When do we put a comma before and?

I appreciate your help.
Junior Member55
This is a large topic.
Rule 1: A comma is used to separate two independent clauses in a sentence. [My mother stayed home, and my father traveled to Europe.]
Rule 2: A comma is optional in a series: I like Pepsi, Coke (,) and Sprite.

I'll let others add rules 3 through 20 (whatever they are).
Veteran Member24,100
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Hi Philip,
Rule 1: A comma is used to separate two independent clauses in a sentence. [My mother stayed home, and my father traveled to Europe.]

Strangely, I had never heard this 'rule' in my life until I became involved with this Forum and some people wrote about it.

I find it hard to agree with it. Personally, I''d say that it's more a matter of length, readability and meaning. In other words, if the clauses are short, if the sentence is easy to understand and if the meaning does not seem to demand a reflective pause, I don't see why a comma would be strictly necessary. I have no problem with saying that a comma is optional.

eg Tom likes Coke and Mary likes Pepsi.

Best wishes, Clive

Veteran Member78,141
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I used to put commas before and after restrictive clause when the following proposition did not expand the restrictive clause but the sentence as a whole only or so do I think.
Hi,
Would you like to write and post a few sentences, for comments?

Clive
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I hate a cat that pees on your carpet, and a dog that smells like fish.
Hi,
I would say that a comma is OK here but not essential.

Do you know this joke?

A: My dog lost his nose in an accident.
B: Poor thing. How does it smell?
A: Terrible
!

Clive
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Nice pun. haha
Regular Member575
CliveHi Philip,
Rule 1: A comma is used to separate two independent clauses in a sentence. [My mother stayed home, and my father traveled to Europe.]

I think that most writers' manuals agree that in the case of short clauses, the comma is optional. I just do it as a general rule, and then I don't have to worry about what "short" means.
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