Consider these sentences:

  1. "Harry(,) and his friends Ron and Hermione(,) face new challenges during their second year at Hogwarts."

  2. "Harry, along with his friends Ron and Hermione, faces new challenges during his second year at Hogwarts."

  3. "Harry, Ron and Hermione face new challenges during their second year at Hogwarts."

First of all, are all these three grammatically correct?

What happens if we include the two commas in sentence 1 (if we can/could)?


As a coordinating conjunction, and joins two elements of equal syntactical importance and topicality. Thus it does not easily lend itself to giving one joined element more or less topicality than another.

You have correctly understood that there are a number of tools available to do so:

A as well as B and C…
As well as B and C, A…
A [along] with B and C…
A, accompanied by B and C,…
Acompanied by B and C, A…

Whether the sentence begins with the subject A or the subordinated element, A is more topical than B or C and, because A is the only grammatical subject,governs the verb, which in your case will be singular.

Theoretically, the only punctuation strong enough to negate the coordinating force of and is likely parentheses:

A (and his friends B and C) is…

This makes little stylistic sense in a written text — why use a coordinating conjunction just to negate it with punctuation? — but could be conveyed in spoken language where the mention of the two friends is an afterthought.

Note that in your third sentence there would be no comma after Hermione. A comma after Ron is optional.

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