1

I want your suggestion on what is the correct punctuation:

  1. My test was finished within 3 days, and right after that, my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.
  2. My test was finished within 3 days, and right after that my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

I found some sources in which the first option was used. The second option is, however, also available.

  • Your question would be improved if you included some of your sources. – Chappo May 28 '16 at 2:49
-1

Both are grammatical. There's just a subtle difference of pragmatics.

With the pair of commas, the delimited part is parenthetical —

My test was finished within 3 days (, and right after that,) my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

Whereas in the other case, you just have an Oxford comma in an otherwise compound sentence.

My test was finished within 3 days, and right after that my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

I would say that the comma before and is dispensable in the second case

My test was finished within 3 days and right after that my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

While the one after that has a different function and is needed in any case:

My test was finished within 3 days and right after that, my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

HTH.

  • 1
    There's no Oxford comma in the examples given. An Oxford or serial comma is used to separate a series of more than two elements, such as "I saw a man, a wife, and their two children." There's no list of elements in the OP's example. – Chappo May 29 '16 at 0:31
  • @Chappo Why focus on what is only incidental to the context? – Kris May 31 '16 at 8:05
  • Kris, your reference to the Oxford comma wasn't incidental, it was part of your argument on how to punctuate the 2nd sentence. The purpose of comments is to suggest improvements, and my implicit suggestion was to correct the error. But if you believe you're right in saying the second case contains an Oxford comma, your answer would equally be improved by providing a reference to support your contention. Either way, the ELU community gets a better result. – Chappo Jun 1 '16 at 10:27
-1

It's difficult to give a definitive answer, as punctuation can sometimes be a matter of personal, editorial and geographic preference, as well as differing substantially between languages. From my review of a range of sources, it appears that in English there are five broad approaches to commas:

  1. use a comma to separate certain grammatical elements;
  2. use commas to avoid potentially ambiguous constructions or to assist the reader's comprehension of a complex sentence;
  3. use commas as a guide to the intonation of the sentence;
  4. refer to the relevant appropriate style guide; and
  5. use your own style, especially in creative writing.

The ELU page on the "comma" tag provides a good summary of the comma's purposes.

In relation to the question posed, the sentence is constructed with two clauses: (My test was finished within 3 days) + (right after that my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home). Some style guides require a comma to be used after a conjunction joining two independent clauses; thus:

My test was finished within 3 days, and right after that my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

However, there's also the matter of the adverbial phrase "right after that" which modifies "took". It's common for such parenthetical phrases to be both preceded and followed by a comma, thus:

My test was finished within 3 days, and, right after that, my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

Nonetheless, while this might be correct, many would regard it as an excessive use of commas. You might still like to retain the comma after and if you were deliberately seeking to capture specific intonation such as a ponderous or dramatic verbal style. But modern English tends to spurn unnecessary punctuation, in which case the result would be:

My test was finished within 3 days, and right after that, my dad and I took the earliest flight to come back home.

TL;DR: (a) both your sentences are acceptable; (b) check if you need to follow a style manual that prefers one format over the other; and (c) make sure you stick to the same style throughout your document.

For further ELU debate about commas:
Parenthetical Commas
Nonessential Commas
Erroneous Commas?

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