I was an English teacher for 40 years. Every semester when it was time to teach punctuation, a student would gently remind me about a rule I hadn’t mentioned: “A comma takes the place of and.”
No, it doesn’t. But there were always a few students who would nod knowingly.
If I thought hard enough, I could probably come up with a sentence where you could indeed substitute a comma for and. But I’d rather save my brain cells for other tasks.
So – if you harbor this urban legend, let it go.
Here are three comma rules that will cover most sentences:
- Use a comma when a sentence begins with an extra idea.
- Use a comma when you join two sentences with and or but (or any of the seven FANBOYS words).
- Use a pair of commas with an interrupter.