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I have the fallowing sentence (I've changed the content to keep it fairly understandable, the relations between the parts are the same).

However, it states in the literature that green people love apples, which strengthens the idea that at least some green people would buy apples and that by opening a chain of apple stores great profits can be made.

I'm not sure if I should leave it as is, add a comma before the emphasized "and" or make the part after the "and" into a new sentence.

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It seems grammatically valid to me as-is; it's a bit long and unwieldy, so breaking it up is not a bad idea - but not absolutely necessary. –  MT_Head Apr 24 '12 at 0:31
    
@MT_Head, Could you offer how to break it up. Sadly the original sentence is much longer, and it's far from my longest one. :( –  Ilya Melamed Apr 24 '12 at 0:35
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@IlyaMelamed: Change "at least some green people would buy apples and that by opening a chain of apple stores..." to "at least some green people would buy apples. Therefore, by opening a chain of apple stores, great profits can be made." –  J.R. Apr 24 '12 at 1:29
    
I'll take an author who's not afraid of long sentences over one whose bible is the Turkey City Lexicon any day. The sentence is fine as it is; if the flow isn't forced and if it makes contextual sense to keep it together, don't separate just because you've hit some artificial word limit. –  Amos M. Carpenter Apr 24 '12 at 4:33
    
@aaamos - I'd never heard of the Turkey City Lexicon, but - having given it a read - I definitely wish that more authors used it as their bible, or at least their Ten Commandments ('Thou shalt not write trite, cliched crap and inflict it upon the world.') Not sure what your issue with it is - did they single out a particular tic of yours? Although I do get a bit tired of conscious "eyeball kicks"... –  MT_Head Apr 24 '12 at 5:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Between two independent clauses, a comma is common before and, but since these are both subordinate clauses attached to idea, I would avoid the comma, which suggests a separation that isn't there.

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"Comma before and" is a style issue, which is frowned upon by certain style guides.

However, I personally encourage its judicious use to disambiguate and to improve readability.

In your example, the sentence in any case is too long and begs to be divided into smaller ones. The real issue here therefore, is not the comma.

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Placing a comma after a conjunction is a style used by me and those whose styles I have imitated, to compel the reader to pause in expectation before continuing with reading the rest of the sentence.

To me the effect is like pulling the rubber band of the catapult back and then releasing it:

Not only did she destroy all the books in the library but, she even pointed her fingers at me implying that I had done it.


She was the brightest, the most charming star of the evening and, she was the sweetest angel I had ever met. And, her name is Betty White.

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-1. Sorry, but this is neither what the OP is asking nor good practice. If you really want to force a pause after the conjunction, consider using a colon, but a comma is not appropriate here. –  Amos M. Carpenter Apr 24 '12 at 4:19
    
Gaaaaaaaaaahhh! –  MT_Head Apr 24 '12 at 5:10

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