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Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New are the most commonly used fonts on Windows, and also preinstalled on macOS.

Is it correct to put a comma before "and also"?

Note: I don't have an intent to use as few punctuation marks as possible. If using a comma would be a more correct choice, even though most people wouldn't consider its omission as something really wrong, I would prefer to keep it.

Here are two examples from an article on Grammarly. I do understand why the comma is used in the first sentence and not used in the second, but my own sentence above seems to be a bit different.

  • It’s cold outside, and I can't find my coat.
  • Sam tossed the ball and watched the dog chase it.

2 Answers 2

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The comma before and also should be removed. We could consider a few other changes to achieve parallelism. The brackets show the parallelism.

Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New are the fonts most commonly [used on Windows] and also [preinstalled on macOS].

The above is a simple sentence, and hence we do not use a comma before and also.

Edit

If we add a comma before and also, the meaning of the sentence changes. The part after that comma becomes an interruption, and the main message becomes

Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New are the fonts most commonly used on Windows.

You are right that the other two examples you listed are different. The 'coat' example is a compound sentence, and the 'dog' example is a simple sentence.

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  • Thanks a lot! But isn't it that replacing "...are the most commonly used fonts on Windows..." with "...fonts most commonly used on Windows..." shifts the meaning? Isn't it that the former says that these fonts are used on Windows more often than others (e.g. Comic Sans), whereas the latter makes a point that they are used on Windows more often than on macOS?
    – john c. j.
    May 6 at 14:26
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When two elements are coordinated, we can surround the second (along with the coordinating conjunction) with paired punctuation to indicate that it is nonrestrictive (nonessential). For example:

People say that the Earth has four (or sometimes five) oceans.
Oregon--but not Idaho--is on the Pacific Ocean.
My friend Alice, and her dog Bucky, will arrive tomorrow.

In your sentence, there doesn't appear to be any reason to consider the second element ("also preinstalled on macOS") to be nonrestrictive, so I would omit the comma. (Many guides consider it incorrect to include a comma without a good reason.)

However, your sentence has a bigger issue, as Seowjooheng Singapore pointed out in another answer: The coordinated elements are not parallel. The second ("also preinstalled on macOS") is clearly a past participle phrase, while the first appears to be "the most commonly used fonts on Windows", which is a nominal phrase. There are many ways to fix this, depending on what you mean. For example:

Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New are the most commonly used fonts on Windows and are also preinstalled on macOS.

Now both conjuncts are complete predicates.

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