Using a Comma before “And”

The inspiration for my Mindful Monday Tips often comes directly from questions that people ask me. So a quick shout out to my husband for giving me today’s idea. Yesterday he mentioned being unsure of when to use a comma before the word And.

It is always necessary to use a comma before And when it’s being used to join two independent clauses (groups of words with both a subject and a verb that can stand alone as a sentence).

This same rule applies when using any of the coordinating conjunctions to join two independent clauses together. (Coordinating conjunctions include the words And, But, So, Or, Yet, Nor, and For.) So in the examples below, the first sentence does not require a comma because there is only one independent clause. The second sentence does require the comma because the word And is joining two independent clauses together. Notice how subtle the difference is…

“Sophie has written several books and even has two best-sellers.”

“Sophie has written several books, and she even has two best-sellers.”

Do you find using commas confusing? If so, you’re not alone! There are so many rules regarding comma usage in the English language, it can be hard to keep them all straight! Where do you tend to get hung up the most?