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For instance, would removing the comma be incorrect in "the painting was painted in 1862, or the 19th century"?

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Generally speaking, yes it would be incorrect -- the phrase following or is an appositive phrase, and so it is nonessential.

Source: https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/commas/commas-with-appositives/

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  • Thank you so much @FeliniusRex :) – RoseDavie Nov 26 '20 at 7:58

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