Comma rules and the imperative

Subject: Comma rules and the imperative
From: Jim Lockard <norton -at- MEGSINET -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 12:42:13 -0600


Here's a troublesome question I'd like
to get some feedback on:

In the sentence, "Type a new filename, and
click OK," is it grammatically correct to
include or omit the comma before the "and"?

We often use the imperative voice (or is
it a "tense") when we write instructions.
The sentence subject, in the imperative,
is an implied "you" as in, "Choose Save
from the File menu."

The grammar rules I know clearly call for
a comma before a conjunction that joins
two independent clauses. Take, for example,
the sentence, "A Windoze PC is a hobby, but
a Macintosh is a tool." You need the comma
because the phrase, "a Macintosh is a tool,"
is an independent clause. So, if both clauses
in the imperative sentence example are
independent, you need a comma.

What's causing me trouble is this: Since
the subject is implied, can we not assume
that the second clause ("click OK") is not
truly independent in that it shares the
subject with the first clause--as in, "I
read the directions and crashed my computer"?

If there's any interest, I'll summarize the

James Lockard

norton -at- megsinet -dot- net

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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