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There should be opposing viewpoints so that discussion can take multiple turns AND people can finally reach a solution that neutralizes both viewpoints.

Should there be a comma before "and" in this sentence because both are independent clauses?

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  • Grammarly is showing that a comma should not be placed in that sentence. Why? Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 7:16
  • Some guides probably say yes, but consensus here is to do what seems best and clearest. Grammarly does not always understand complex sentences. There's a bewildering range of existing questions similar to this: english.stackexchange.com/questions/440895/… english.stackexchange.com/questions/42811/… english.stackexchange.com/questions/214738/…
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 9:42
  • 2
    << There should be A so that B, and C. >> defaults to << There should be C, and A so that B. > not << There should be A so that [B and C]. >> For breathability, I'd use a comma after viewpoints. Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 11:40
  • so that discussion can take multiple turns and people can finally reach a solution that neutralizes both viewpoints is one dependent clause. Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 15:41
  • Because it is two independent sentences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 17:15

1 Answer 1

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The issue is: What are the two conjuncts connected by "and"? Yes, it is grammatically valid to consider them to be two independent clauses:

[There should be opposing viewpoints so that discussion can take multiple turns], and [people can finally reach a solution that neutralizes both viewpoints].

However, it doesn't seem likely that that's what the author intended. The more likely interpretation, as noted by Tinfoil Hat in a comment above, is that the conjuncts are dependent clauses headed by the subordinator "so that": "discussion can take multiple turns" and "people can finally reach a solution that neutralizes both viewpoints". (The parallelism offered by the two instances of "can" supports this interpretation.) In that case, there's no reason for a comma:

There should be opposing viewpoints so that [discussion can take multiple turns] and [[so that]] [people can finally reach a solution that neutralizes both viewpoints].

(The double brackets surround optional text.)

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  • Thank you for putting words to that. Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 17:19

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