In this Advanced English lesson, you will learn when to use a comma before ‘and’. When we write emails, official documents or reports, we get confused as we do not know when to use a comma before the word ‘and’.
In two situations we should use a comma before ‘and’.
When “and” is being used to coordinate two independent clauses. An independent clause—also known as a main clause—is a group of words that has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence.’
In the following example, the independent clauses are in brackets.
Example: [John took piano lessons for sixteen years], and [today he is an accomplished performer].
Example: John took piano lessons for sixteen years and today is an accomplished perform. (no comma is used before ‘and’ as these are not independent clauses)
Example: [The storm damaged the city], and [many people were left without electricity]. Both the sentences in the brackets are independent clauses and can stand alone. In such a case, use a comma before ‘and’ when joining these two sentences.
Example: The storm damaged the city and left people without electricity. (there are no independent clauses and so no comma is used before ‘and’)
Use a comma before ‘and’ when we have three or more items in a series.
Example: The song was composed by Hary, Lara, and Sarah.
Example: The meal consisted of soup, salad, and macroni and cheese. (use a comma before ‘and’ even if the last item on the list is complementing another one by using and)