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Edit: This question is for U.S English as I know that coordinating conjunctions in British English don't need a comma.

After reading an article about adverbial conjunctions, I've noticed a peculiar thing when the adverbial conjunction was used to end a sentence.

 "We wanted to go on a picnic. The weather turned bad and we
 weren't able to go, however."

The last sentence have two independent clauses, so shouldn't there be a comma after the word "bad" as it's a run-on/comma splice?

Thank you.

Source: http://www.ucalgary.ca/uofc/eduweb/grammar/course/speech/1_4c.htm

Edit source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/linking-words-and-expressions/conjunctions

  • A run-on sentence is two independent clauses separated by neither a conjunction nor an appropriate punctuation mark (a period or a semicolon). As your last sentence has two independent clauses joined by the conjunction and, it's not a run-on. Most style guides recommend separating two sufficiently-long conjoined independent clauses with a comma, but as the name implies, this is a matter of style. – deadrat Dec 28 '16 at 8:27
  • Thank you for your answer. However, is that applicable to US-english as well? – Paulo Sandsten Dec 28 '16 at 11:25
  • I am fluent only in US-English, although I can understand Br-English if the speakers slow down enough. To my knowledge, run-on sentence is a term of art used with the same meaning in both dialects. The main distinction between US- and British-style punctuation is that the former insists on placing commas and periods inside quotation marks regardless of the sense. The divide between styles is between close and open, with the former recommending taking every opportunity to employ marks and the latter advocating more discretion. I don't think the split takes account of the Atlantic Ocean. – deadrat Dec 29 '16 at 0:14
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Technically, I think you're correct. Two independent clauses should be separated by some form of punctuation.

period

comma and conjunction

semicolon

or even a semicolon followed by a conjunction or transitional phrase (e.g., "as it just so happens").

However, context is important, and we have to think about what the author was trying to do. The fact that the adverbial conjunction comes in at the end of the sentence almost like an afterthought makes me think that maybe they we're going for a sort of colloquial, off-the-cuff sound. Following strict grammar rules when trying to convey a certain character or tone can make the text stilted.

So, while it may be technically 'wrong' it might be serving a larger purpose. Context is key.

  • Inaccurate for coordinated sentences. See deadrat's correct statements. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 28 '16 at 11:08
  • Hello Edwin. I should of explained my question better as it was intended for U.S English. I know that British-English don't use punctuation in the same way when it comes to coordinating conjunctions when referring to two independent clauses. Deadrat is right from a British English perspective, but is it applicable from an U.S English perspective? Thank you. – Paulo Sandsten Dec 28 '16 at 11:40

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