I searched for "or even like taking a" on Google, and I got results like these:

Sometimes that work looks a lot like staring blankly at the page, or even like taking a long walk with the dog.

The word ethics can sometimes seem overly philosophical, or even like taking a moral high ground.

Grammarly's blog states that you should add a comma before or if what follows is an independent clause. But as you can see in the examples, what follows aren't independent clauses (almost every result has a comma).

Why was a comma added in these examples?

Note: Because of this, I'm not sure whether to add a comma here:

He didn't feel dirty, or even like taking a shower.

  • I think coordinators like but and or are usually preceded by a comma.
    – Cardinal
    May 23 '19 at 6:19

I think the commas are there simply because the writers of those examples did not agree with the guidelines Grammarly cites. And to be frank, I’m with those writers. I probably overuse commas, but (see!) I think my readers appreciate the assistance they provide if reading the material allowed. The pause implied by a comma can help the reader break longer, more complex sentences into more easily manageable chunks.

And that applies to your own example. I prefer your:

He didn’t feel dirty, or even like taking a shower.

over (your implied):

He didn’t feel dirty or even like taking a shower.

Bottom line here is that if it’s not negatively impacting comprehension or meaning, including nuance and the like, and may even be enhancing those things, then this is more a matter of style than of hard and fast rules.


I agree with tkp.

Essentially, I add commons either where you're technically meant to, or just where I might take a brief pause/breath (when I read the sentence out loud).

The sentences above would technically be correct without the commas, but it feels correct to have a pause at this point in the sentence to make the second part stand out. The author is making a point, in my opinion.

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