Commas with coordinating conjunctions
Independent Clause: a group or words that contain BOTH a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. Basically a sentence!
Dependent clause: a group of words that contain BOTH a subject and verb, but it is not a complete thought. It can not stand by itself.
Coordinating Conjunctions: A word which joins together two clauses that are both equally important.
For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So
RULE #1: When you have two independent clauses joined together with a coordinating conjunction, you must have a comma proceeding the conjunction.
Ex: I love to swim, but I hate shopping for swimming suits.
NOTE: Both clauses–I love to swim & I hate shopping for swimming suits–are independent. These independent clauses are joined together with the conjunction BUT. So we have to use a comma before the but.
RULE #2: When the conjunctions are just combining phrases or dependent clauses not two independent clauses then there is no comma.
▪ Always use a comma when you have a but.
▪ When you want to give special emphasis to the second element in a coordinated pair
▪ When linking a series of three or more elements
Example of Exception #2: I didn’t believe him, and said so.
–The writer wanted to place emphasis on SAID SO. Even though it is not an independent clause, the writer used a comma to create a pause, which then placed emphasis on and SAID SO.
Example of Exception #3: I love many sports: basketball, softball, and volleyball.
–Since and is being used to combine a series of three elements, a comma is used.
ERRORS WHEN YOU BREAK THE RULE
Comma Splice: Joining two independent clauses together with just a comma.
Run-on: Joining two independent clauses together with just a coordinating...