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I was told to post this question here:

I don't know if I should use a comma before "and" in this sentence.

I grunted from the weight of the dresser and after a pause, the doorbell rang again. I gave up with a huff and went outside.

I think "I grunted from the weight of the dresser" is an independent clause and "after a pause" is a dependent clause. Thus, there should be no comma before "and". "After a pause" also connects to the independent clause "the doorbell rang again", so there should be a comma between the two.

Am I correct in my assumption?

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  • It's a strange sentence as a pause generally comes after continuous activity, not after a grunt. But, that aside, you want a comma after and and again after pause as you have it. That links the two main clauses but in a puzzling manner, as though the doorbell was somehow connected to the weight of the dresser. Feb 11 at 10:39
  • "I grunted from the weight of the dresser" and "and after a pause the doorbell rang again" are a coordination of two main (independent) clauses. "After a pause" is not a clause but a preposition phrase functioning as a temporal adjunct in the second clause. You could set the adjunct off with commas, though this is not mandatory.
    – BillJ
    Feb 11 at 11:46
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Yes, a comma after 'and' will make a pair of parenthetic commas. One of the functions of commas is for parenthesis, instead of brackets (like this). They enclose additional, useful information which could be removed from the sentence and it would still make sense:

I grunted from the weight of the dresser and, after a pause, the doorbell rang again.

This could also be written with brackets:

I grunted from the weight of the dresser and (after a pause) the doorbell rang again.

The parenthetic clause could be removed and the sentence still makes sense:

I grunted from the weight of the dresser and the doorbell rang again.

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