We use comma in lists. Apart from that, comma is needed before and when joining two independent clauses. For example: I want to write, and I have stamps. Here I am clearly joining two independent clauses and need comma before and.

However, I am confused in this sentence:

The Language Study classes introduced me to the English, French, and German languages and motivated me to learn other languages.

In the above sentence, I am not sure whether I am joining two independent clauses and therefore a comma is needed before boldfaced and.

  • You would not use a comma before "and" in that sentence. You would only do so if, for example, you inserted a "they" between "and" and "motivated," making "and" and that which follows a coordinate clause. – Benjamin Harman Jul 9 '16 at 20:03
  • @FumbleFingers Sorry for the repeated articles, now fixed that. – wey273824 Jul 9 '16 at 20:10
  • 4
    @Benjamin Harman. I've come across style-guides that would consider the comma here optional. According to less prescriptivist authors, where presence or lack of a comma would not distinguish readings, commas may be used purely to indicate pauses and/or make reading easier. But this has been discussed here before. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 9 '16 at 20:15
  • Is motivated me to learn other languages an independent clause? – AmE speaker Oct 13 '17 at 22:28

The sentence is correctly punctuated. A comma before the first and is optional and is called a 'serial comma' or an 'Oxford comma' - i.e., a comma put before the conjunction separating the last two list elements. A comma before the second and is not needed - it is not joining clauses (a subject AND a predicate) but list elements (namely, introduced and motivated - two predicates describing the same noun, the classes) in a list containing less than three (two) elements.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.