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I saw a lot - I mean really a lot - of people putting a comma between verbs or verb phrases in their writings e.g.

The house was colored in brown when it was built by my father in 1920, and had a tall Zelkova tree in its front yard.

even native speakers often make same mistakes. As far as I know, if I want to keep the comma sentence should be as follows:

The house was colored in brown when it was built by my father in 1920, and it had a big Zelkova tree in its front yard.

Or should take out the comma.

Am I missing something or wrong? there are so many people making same punctuation errors that I feel I am wrong. I checked the Purdue OWL, and I am pretty sure it says such comma usage is wrong.

(Ref) https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/607/ Comma abuse > #13

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, tchrist Nov 5 '17 at 19:43

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  • 2
    Despite what the Purdue OWL says, the first clause in that sentence is long and complicated enough that I think the comma is justifiable. – Peter Shor Oct 25 '17 at 1:06
  • First off, the Purdue OWL is not entirely trustworthy. Not everyone agrees with it. Second (as is said repeatedly here), punctuation is often a matter of style. If you want to be prescriptive and say you must punctuate this way then feel to do so. Better style guides than Purdue OWL exist, but I wouldn't take everything that even they say as written in concrete. – AmE speaker Oct 25 '17 at 1:08
  • writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/commas also says "MYTH: Long sentences need a comma. A really long sentence may be perfectly correct without commas. The length of a sentence does not determine whether you need a comma." – MAT Oct 25 '17 at 1:11
  • 1
    Oh, it is prescriptive vs descriptive stuff again. That makes sense then. – MAT Oct 25 '17 at 1:12
  • Found a related post, english.stackexchange.com/questions/87736/… Guess it was a matter of taste – MAT Oct 25 '17 at 1:35

If the sentence were:

The house was colored in brown when my father built it in 1920 and had a red front door.

you really need a comma, because without the comma, it looks like the verb had belongs to father and not house. So the Purdue OWL's advice shouldn't really apply to sentences with subclauses.

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