We've removed one complexity, and introduced a different one which turns out to be worse.

Could somebody explain whether it should be a comma before "and"? The author is a native speaker, but as I know, there should be no comma, according this one


article on Grammarly. (Since "and introduced a different one which turns out to be worse" is a dependent clause, not an independent one).

  • 2
    It's a stylistic choice. Personally I wouldn't include that comma though. Forget about "syntax rules" and just ask yourself if it would sound okay in speech without having a pause there. You could even have a full stop instead of a comma (to emphasise the pause if you want it to be present at all). All permutations are syntactically valid. Sep 29, 2020 at 17:51
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Thanks. In other words, punctuation have some strict rules in some cases, but this particular case provides freedom of choice?
    – user90726
    Sep 29, 2020 at 17:57
  • 1
    Yes. There are a few contexts (restrictive / non-restrictive relative clauses, for example), where the presence or absence of a comma/pause is semantically significant, or otherwise "required". But note that the modern trend is to use less punctuation everywhere (remove some commas, reduce some full stops to commas, etc.). So a good rule of thumb is "don't include a comma unless you know you need it"). Your writing will probably be better that way than if you specifically look for chances to add more punctuation. Sep 29, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


I would personally make the argument that the comma more correctly fits before the word "which", where it would read:

We've removed one complexity and introduced a different one, which turns out to be worse.

This instance separates the independent clause

We've removed one complexity and introduced a different one

from the dependant clause

which turns out to be worse

as a way to show a separation between thoughts. As FumbleFingers mentioned, context can be important, but generally restrict your usage of commas to separate one large thought to two smaller ideas. I try to limit my comma usage to one (or at most two) per sentence, but it's personal preference at best.

Having more than one comma here could make the phrase sound choppy or hesitant when read aloud.

  • Thanks a lot. Regarding a comma before "which": isn't it that both versions (that is, with and without a comma) are grammatically correct but have different meaning? As long as we have a comma before "which", we assume that "which turns out to be worse" relates to "We've removed one complexity and introduced a different one". If we remove the comma, "which turns out to be worse" turns out to be related to "a different one".
    – user90726
    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:38
  • 1
    In certain instances, a comma can create a situation with a different meaning. For example, "We ate grandma" is different than "We ate, grandma", but having context for the situation will usually be supple. I don't believe that comma insertion plays a role in this instance. We can identify that "which turns out to be worse" is related to the entire previous phrase because the two ideas are linked.
    – Apple Cola
    Oct 1, 2020 at 20:07

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