comma before and after 'and' [conjunction]: he saw us, and, unaware

hvj2e43

Member
Hong Kong - Cantonese
This is from The Elements of Style:

If a parenthetic expression is preceded by a conjunction, place the first comma before the conjunction, not after it. He saw us coming, and unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.

Do native writers really write in that way? But I think writing in this way is clearer: He saw us coming, and, unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Native writers, including this one, do write that way, HVJ. There's no reason to set "and" off between two commas. Placing a comma before a coordinating conjunction is perfectly ordinary. Although The Elements of Style has its detractors, I still think it is an excellent source of advice on writing clear English.
     
    Last edited:

    /Serenity/

    New Member
    English - Australian
    I don't see this form too often but there certainly isn't anything wrong with it.

    It depends on the writer I guess, where it is acceptable for some to write instead:
    'He saw us coming and, unaware that we had learned of his treachery greeted us with a smile'.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think it should be possible to omit the expression that comes between double commas and still have a coherent sentence. For that reason, I prefer to mark off the parenthetic expression with a comma and leave out the one before "and":
    He saw us coming and, unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.
    because:
    He saw us coming and greeted us with a smile.
    works better than:
    He saw us coming greeted us with a smile.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think it should be possible to omit the expression that comes between double commas and still have a coherent sentence. For that reason, I prefer to mark off the parenthetic expression with a comma and leave out the one before "and":
    He saw us coming and, unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.
    because:
    He saw us coming and greeted us with a smile.
    works better than:
    He saw us coming greeted us with a smile.

    Good point. The test for this sort of thing is always to see how it sounds with the parenthetic section omitted.
     

    BBED

    New Member
    English
    This is from The Elements of Style:

    If a parenthetic expression is preceded by a conjunction, place the first comma before the conjunction, not after it. He saw us coming, and unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.

    Do native writers really write in that way? But I think writing in this way is clearer: He saw us coming, and, unaware that we had learned of his treachery, greeted us with a smile.

    i think you're right. i think it should be "he saw us coming, and, unaware". i'm reading the elements of style now, and this bothered me. i have definitely seen ", and," written in lots of novels. either way, i don't think it's correct to have no comma before the "and".

    sorry, i know this is an old thread!
     
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