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comma before and after 'and'/'but' followed by adverb [conjunction]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by arjun78, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. arjun78 Senior Member

    India-Hindi
    Example:


    He went to the place, but it was closed. (here it is straightforward, comma precedes conjunction).

    But what of complex sentences like this:


    He was annoyed with the man's behavior, and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.

    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.

    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.


    Before anyone suggests 'so' instead of therefore (to simplify the sentence), let me say that's not the point! I only wish to understand how we can use the comma when a conjunction is followed by an adverb. Out of three options, I feel #1 is better, because it provides proper pause.


    Example: 2


    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.

    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.


    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.

    Again, I feel #1 is better for the same reason. But I'd still like to know if there are any specific rules when conjunctions are followed by either adverbs or two clauses, as in the above examples.
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    These are classic examples of the way I was taught and I would recognize them anywhere.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior, and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.


    I think these are fine, as well.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.

    Personally I don't think these examples are correct -- at least any way that I was ever taught. You don't try to set something off with a single comma; it doesn't work.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.


    But there is a fourth way that I lean towards these days when I don't think my reader will have trouble understanding it...
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior, and therefore he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but as soon as he arrived he found the door locked.
     
  3. arjun78 Senior Member

    India-Hindi
    Thanks for the help. What about smaller sentences: He earned money, but, more importantly, the respect of the people. (or) He earned money but, more importantly, the respect of the people.

    In the above, there are just two words (more importantly), so would it be better to say: He earned money, but more importantly, the respect of the people.

    What I mean is, in other sentences, the clause following the conjunction was rather lengthy. But here, it is just two words...so would less commas be preferable in such cases?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I would just use a single comma after "money." I don't think you understood what I was saying in my third example (see above). If you want to set off "more importantly" with commas, go ahead... but use two of them. Don't try to use one as you have in your examples here.

    At least that's the way I would do it. Other people have different ideas about commas.
     
  5. MonsterWonster New Member

    English - Ireland
    I prefer to use fewer commas in general.

    I find these sentences to be over puncuated, because if I were reading them aloud I would stop at each comma. However, this can be used to emphasize each part of a sentence.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior, and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.


    I don't like these at all. I feel that the coordinate conjunctions "and therefore" and "but as" should not be broken by a comma.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and, therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house but, as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.

    I don't have a problem with these. I feel the comma increases readability.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior and therefore, he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but as soon as he arrived, he found the door locked.


    This is my preferred way of writing the sentences.
    He was annoyed with the man's behavior, and therefore he decided to teach him a lesson.
    He decided to go all the way to his friend's house, but as soon as he arrived he found the door locked.

    Views on how commas should be placed vary hugely, but most people agree that too many commas are irritating.
     

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