comma before 'and' [compound predicate]: sat on the grass and read a


Let's consider the following sentence:

"I sat on the grass in the park and read a book."

Should there be a comma before 'and' or not? I found this sentence in a British book but I was told by a native English speaker from the States that this is a mistake. Is this simply a question of difference between BrE and AmE, or is there something more to it?

Oh, and an additional question: would providing the subject in the second part of the sentence make a difference? Say, if the sentence were: "I sat on the grass in the park and I read a book", would it require a comma before 'and'?
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  • As another "native English speaker from the States," I will tell you that this is exactly the way to write it -- without a comma.
    You need a comma before and if there is a second subject in the second clause.

    I sat in the grass in the park and read a book (same subject - I).
    I sat in the grass in the park and I read a book (same subject).
    I sat in the grass in the park, and John read a book nearby.
    The current thinking on commas is to eliminate them unless the sentence meaning would be unclear. As written, your sentence rings clear to my ear. After many years with comma rules there is agreement that to many of them clutter up sentences and are traffic pause or stop signals which slow up the reading pace.

    Oh yes welcome to the Forum
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