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While writing a paper for English, I stumbled across a weird sentence:

Scout’s father, Atticus, is hired to defend Tom in the trial, and, although it is a lost cause because of the racism of the people of Maycomb, Atticus takes the job seriously and does his best.

Should this be like the one above (looking at the "trial, and, although" part) or should the commas be different? By saying the sentence, it seems both commas should be there, but others have told me otherwise. Please help!!

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    Commas surrounding "although it is .. Maycomb", not commas surrounding "and".
    – GEdgar
    Apr 9, 2019 at 0:24

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First, look at the sentence with all of the parenthetical information removed:

Scout's father is hired to defend Tom in the trial, and Atticus takes the job seriously and does his best.

Now add back in the parenthetical information—but use actual parentheses (I have also emphasized the text):

Scout's father (Atticus) is hired to defend Tom in the trial, and (although it is a lost cause because of the racism of the people of Maycomb) Atticus takes the job seriously and does his best.

Finally, replace the parentheses with commas:

Scout's father, Atticus, is hired to defend Tom in the trial, and, although it is a lost cause because of the racism of the people of Maycomb, Atticus takes the job seriously and does his best.

As you can see, there is always a comma after trial. It's not that the and after it is in a pair of parenthetical commas, but that the entire although . . . Maycomb phrase is in a pair of parenthetical commas.


In short, there's nothing wrong with the use of the commas in the sentence.

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  • I'd not find any reason to disallow the omission of the comma before although. This is a bit disconcerting, as you obviously can't drop the leading bracket in that rewrite. I've found reasonable examples of the parenthetical << , and although ..., ...>> (and one with no commas before or after 'and' or at the end of the parenthesis) on the internet. Jul 14, 2023 at 11:39

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