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Should there be a comma before "and" in the sentence below? The reason why I ask is because I think that the sentence below has committed a comma splice, but I am not completely sure. Can someone please explain to me why there is a comma in front of "and".

Birmingham lighted a runaway fuse, and as fast as the headlines could record them, demonstrations exploded all over the country...

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Lawrence, NVZ, jimm101, Dan Bron Apr 11 '16 at 13:09

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  • 1
    That’s perfectly normal. You have two independent clauses separated by a coördinating conjunction and a comma. – tchrist Aug 18 '15 at 2:16
  • Is "and as fast as the headlines could record them, demonstrations exploded all over the country" in this case treated as an independent clause? – Victor Aug 18 '15 at 2:25
  • 2
    Yes, it is an independent clause. The sentence, in my opinion, is not a good one. It lacks clarity. A better rendering could be, "Birmingham lit a runaway fuse, and demonstrations exploded all over the country as fast as the headlines could record them." (At 2AM, that sentence is the best I can come up with!) – rhetorician Aug 18 '15 at 5:56
  • @rhetorician the original sentence has "lighted." That isn't correct, is it? I think it should be "lit" as you wrote it. – michael_timofeev Aug 18 '15 at 15:06
  • @michael_timofeev: Lighted or lit: which is correct? Both! See this web site: grammarist.com/usage/lighted-lit. See also this ngram entry: books.google.com/ngrams/…. Don – rhetorician Aug 22 '15 at 0:04

Because both sentences can stand independently, a comma is required before the conjunction.

Source: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

  • The 'rule' is not hard and fast, as the balanced linked article at the duplicate says. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 '16 at 17:01

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