First off, sorry if my question is confusing. Or just plain wrong for what I am actually asking. But I am confused. I'm trying to figure out why there are no commas in two specific sentences. I don't think these sentences are wrong, but I want to understand why they are right. I am looking for a rule, but I lack the terminology to search for a rule.

Here are the sentences:

Because the topic covers several issues and because I was already working on one of the sub-topics for another article, I thought I’d answer the question in an article rather than in the comment section.


I’m going to focus on adverbial clauses since they’re usually the ones that cause the most problems and because the example in the reader’s question uses an adverbial clause.

They are both taken from this article: http://theeditorsblog.net/2014/07/30/commas-with-subordinate-clauses-a-readers-question/

The parts that, for some reason or other, confound me are in bold. Both are subordinate/dependent clauses, and both begin with a subordinate conjunction. At least, I believe that is the case. But what do they turn into when the construction is done like the above? A "compound subordinate clause"? And why would there be a small voice in my head, asking me why there is no comma before the "and" in the bold parts of my quotes?

Additionally, would the same grammatical "state" (yes, I am obviously lacking terminology, I apologize) still apply if, in the first quote, the subordinate conjunction was not repeated? As in:

Because the topic covers several issues and I was already working on one of the sub-topics for another article, I thought I’d answer the question in an article rather than in the comment section.

And again I feel like there should be a comma here between "issues" and "and".

Someone please help me out here.

Thank you.

  • 1
    Deleting the second 'because' in your third example implies that there is a two-part reason rather than two reasons (though this may often boil down to the same thing). I'd say that the comma before 'and' is rulewise optional, but in kindness-to-readers terms, essential. Jan 25, 2018 at 2:10
  • Thanks for the answer. Just to clarify: Are you talking about the comma before 'and' only in the third example or in all examples? Jan 25, 2018 at 2:17
  • All; also. a comma before 'since' is probably best if you add one before 'and' in your second example. Read them out and see where pauses sound natural. Though there are useful rules, there's also a lot more flexibility than many people imagine. Jan 25, 2018 at 2:23
  • Thanks. But... wouldn't the comma there be in "defiance" of the "no-comma before subordinate clauses if they come after the independent clause" rule? Jan 25, 2018 at 2:42
  • Yes. But, like @rhetorician and Oscar Wilde, I consider that 'rule' a guideline. 'We need to give commas a little breathing space' is a delightful double entendre, though 'we can use commas where a little breathing space is reasonable and no confusion is generated' spells it out more clearly. Jan 25, 2018 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


The Gregg Reference Manual 10th edition (2005) mentions this rule in ¶130a:

Note: When two dependent clauses both modify the main clause that follows, do not use a comma to separate the dependent clauses. Insert a comma only before the main clause. [Example:] "If you send us your resume in advance and you bring in a portfolio showing samples of your work, we will be glad to set up an interview for you during the last week of this month." (Do not insert a comma after advance.)


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