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For example, "Race, religion, and gender, are still crucial factor's in someone's success"

Should there be a comma after "gender"? And is this a fixed rule?

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In a word, no. Race, religion and gender form a compound subject and are followed by the predicate (in this case a complement) are still crucial factor's in someone's success. There should be no comma between a subject and its predicate.

This is a fixed rule to the extent that all descriptive grammars and style guides that I am aware of proscribe the usage. There's a good summary of the issue, with citations from various reference sources, on the Sentence first, with the exemplarily incorrect title:

Adding a comma between the subject and predicate, is inadvisable

Here is a brief extract:

Quirk and Greenbaum’s University Grammar of English, for example, says categorically that a comma 'cannot separate subject from predicate'.

And incidentally, factors is a simple plural, not a possessive. There should be no apostrophe.

  • "The New Oxford Guide to Writing By Thomas S. Kane {1988} doesn't accept the mantra 'Never separate the subject from its verb with a comma' as being an inviolable edict." appears in the duplicate thread. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 10 '18 at 17:43
  • Thank you for that. Ignore the "factors" bit, I'll put that down to a lack of sleep. So is that still true for the following sentence? "What with the time difference, dodgy WiFi connection, and my unpredictable schedule I think that a web-call will be almost impossible until my travels are finished." It just feels counter-intuitive to not add a comma after "schedule". – Alex Feb 11 '18 at 6:44
  • @Alex. The subject in the new sentence you cite is I and the simple predicate is think. You would certainly not write I, think that.... The words that end with schedule form a prepositional phrase. These are commonly found at the beginning of sentences and marking them off with a comma is optional. If they are long compounds, as in your case, I might also end them with a comma. Some writers may also separate long, compound subjects from the predicate with a comma if they feel this aids reading. But in general this is a good rule to be aware of, if not always to follow. – Shoe Feb 11 '18 at 7:47

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