Commas before and

Do you use a comma before “and” or not? Take a look at these four sentences and decide which two are correct.

  1. The train carried the log, and pulled the tubs.
  2. The train carried the log and pulled the tubs.
  3. The train carried the log and it pulled the tubs.
  4. The train carried the log, and it pulled the tubs.

Answers and explanation

Correct sentences: #2 and #4.

Sentences 1 and 2 have one subject followed by two predicates. Subject and predicates must be joined, so we can’t use the comma to separate them. This makes #2 correct.

Sentences 3 and 4 have two separate independent clauses joined by “and.” (Independent clauses have a subject and predicate and can serve as a complete sentence.) Independent clauses are separate ideas, so we need a comma to separate them. This makes #4 correct.

The two correct sentences look like this:

traincommas.1

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  1. #1 by Gerry on June 14, 2014 - 2:20 am

    Your little graphic with the train is brilliant. It helps visual learners understand this concept easily.

    • #2 by preciseedit on July 20, 2014 - 10:44 am

      Gerry: Thanks. I hope it helps people understand. Rule #1 for writing (and for using commas): Respect your reader. Some readers need visual clues.

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