Exploring Writing Myths – Session 2

Myth 2: You must not put a comma before ‘and’

and

Many folk insist that putting a comma before ‘and’ is bad. Ignore them. (Just as Nesfield did, in the first line of the earlier example) Though a comma is usually unnecessary in this position, it may help the reader to see how the sentence s constructed, or put a pause exactly where you want it. A few examples:

It was bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. (First line of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four)

Parents shop around. They send for clutch of prospectuses, see what’s available in both the public and private sectors, and are prepared to switch their children between the two at different stages in their education. (The Times, 1994)

And here is Beatrix Potter, setting an example to children in The Tale of Peter Rabbit:

He found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room for a fat little rabbit to squeeze underneath.

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