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I have a sentence that starts with a dependent clause, followed by an independent clause and another independent clause, but I'm not sure if a comma would be required before the coordinating conjunction. Here's the sentence:

"After taking the bus to work for years, I finally had enough money to buy a car, and now I can finally go to work without waiting outside in the cold for the bus to arrive."

In that sentence, I added a comma before the coordinating conjunction "and" because the clause after that is independent. But since a dependent clause comes before the two independent clauses, should the comma be removed? Is there a rule that states this?

  • The rule is to use commas where you would pause in speaking the sentence. Your usage is just right. – Richard Kayser Dec 2 '16 at 3:36
  • @RichardKayser I agree with you concerning the second comma but I'm not convinced that the first one is necessary. I don't pause at that point when reading the sentence out loud and the sense of the first two clauses seems to be bound together too tightly for them to need separating conceptually. – BoldBen Dec 2 '16 at 8:11
  • @BoldBen I agree. It could go either way. – Richard Kayser Dec 2 '16 at 12:55
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Ethan, what you did is correct, and that sentence needs that comma. Better, I think, to re-cast it: "For years I took the bus to work; when I finally had enough money to buy a car, I bought one. Now I can go to work without waiting outside in the cold for the bus to arrive."

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