An independent clause is a unit of grammatical organization that includes both a subject and verb and can stand on its own as a sentence. In the previous example, "I went running" and "I saw a duck" are both independent clauses, and "and" is the coordinating conjunction that connects them. Consequently, we insert a comma.

Why don't these sentences require a conjunction grammatically:

God is watching over you, I know because I asked him to.

God will open doors that no man can shut, you just be ready to walk through them

Put the book in the head, not on the head

The above are independent clauses so I would always put 'and' for example. The comma can represent contrast but it can do this with the conjunction also. What does the ommission represent gramatically.

  • You're confusing the issue in the first two examples by using commas where most people would probably use full stops (i.e. - these aren't really clauses at all - they're sentences). The third example is syntactically unrelated, since it doesn't include an "independent clause". Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 18:06
  • Do some reading about comma splices, which are generally frowned upon. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 18:21
  • The third example doesn’t contain two independent clauses, and I anyway the negative particle ‘not’ is in a class of its own with its own rules. “Put the book in the head not on the head” without the comma is ok as far as I know. Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


What we have here is variation in the use of punctuation.

We can have two sentences:

I went running. I saw a duck.


God is watching over you. I know because I asked him to.

The second refers to and explains the first. Some people will use a comma instead of a full-stop to show that the sentences are linked. This is generally considered a bad idea; style guides and prescriptive grammars will tell you not to do this. Misusing a comma like this is called a comma splice.

Instead of using a full-stop or a comma, you can use a semi-colon:

God is watching over you; I know because I asked him to.

This is used to join two sentences that are closely linked. Note that there would not be a capital letter after a semi-colon (but "I" is always a capital) Very often two sentences joined with a semi-colon could be written as a single sentence with a conjunction:

I have test tomorrow; I can't go out.

I have test tomorrow, so I can't go out.

(example taken from grammar girl)


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