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Should I use a comma before “and” or “or”?

Is it appropriate and/or advisable to use a comma before 'and' in some situations?


2 Answers 2


Yes, it can be appropriate and advisable. Some examples from Carey's "Mind the Stop" are helpful (p49 in the 1980 reprint of the Penguin edition):

  • It is impossible, and indeed undesirable, to lay down hard-and-fast rules on this subject.
  • I stayed with him most of the afternoon and the next day, on going to see him again, found him a little better.

The first shows a case where the comma before and is very necessary, and the second shows a case where the absence of the comma leads you astray on first reading the sentence.


Commas before and are useful in cases where there are two independent clauses that require linkage; for example:

A cat can climb trees, and it can climb curtains.

[A cat can climb trees] + [A cat can climb curtains].

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