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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
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    @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
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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.

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