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comma before 'and' [conjunction]: signifies God and the dead soldier

Discussion in 'English Only' started by PHart, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. PHart

    PHart Senior Member

    Boston, MA
    English - United States
    In the following sentence, is the comma before "and" optional?:

    --Thus, the military signifies God and the dead soldier, whose diligence is a hymn to the military, signifies a pious follower.
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I think a comma is mandatory there. You need to make it clear in the beginning that the military does not signify "God and the dead soldier."
    Thus, the military signifies God, and the dead soldier ...
     
  3. Matamoscas Senior Member

    Ireland English
    Yes, absolutely necessary. What about a ; and no and?
     
  4. PHart

    PHart Senior Member

    Boston, MA
    English - United States
    If it were simply "Thus, the military signifies God and the dead soldier signifies a pious follower," would the comma still be necessary? Because I have read that in two closely related clauses, one can omit the comma. Is it the additional relative clause ("whose diligence is a hymn to the military, signifies a pious follower") that changes the merit of the comma in my sentence?
     
  5. Matamoscas Senior Member

    Ireland English
    I see no need for a comma where the two clauses are parallel as in your new example.
     
  6. PHart

    PHart Senior Member

    Boston, MA
    English - United States
    So, because the relative clause breaks the parallelism, I need a comma?

    Also, doesn't the sentence make clear that the military does not symbolize both?
     
  7. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I would use a comma in the second version as well, just to forestall the possibility of misreading. "Rules" are less important than assuring clarity.
     
  8. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Maybe you could substitute "and" with "while" (with or without a comma). It might even be more suitable.
     

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