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Is and in the following sentence optional?

He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones.

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    No, it's not, because it adds to the meaning, or (in some cases,) at least to the emphasis. – Kris Jan 24 '14 at 6:18
  • e- special -ly. – Blessed Geek Jan 24 '14 at 7:17
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I would presume that the sentence is being used in a literary context. As such, the and emphasizes the distinct dislike that he has for young and pretty women.

There are several reasons to see this sentence as literary in style.

The basic content is (i.e. a terse version of the sentence):

He dislikes most pretty, young women.

The substitution of nearly all for most is to emphasize the extensiveness of his dislike of women.

The addition of the and is to emphasize that the young, pretty women is nearly a distinct category of people that he hates.

The use of and between young and pretty further emphasizes that each specifies a reason he dislikes them.

Stylistically, this sentence is quite good for its purposes -- presuming the purpose is not merely to convey that there is man who dislikes most pretty, young women.

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