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Can we use "and" to join more than two main clauses?

Is the Example 1 correct?

Example 1

She arrived at her home, and her door was locked, and the door nob seemed to be broken by somebody when she was not home.

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    Grammatically, yes. "And" is recursive. Note though that "but" is not. Semantically, it's generally considered stylistically inelegant to have more than two instances of "and" in the same sentence.
    – BillJ
    Oct 25, 2022 at 7:18
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    "...the door knob seemed to have been broken by somebody..." Oct 25, 2022 at 8:42
  • Not when there is no cogent reason for doing so, no.
    – Lambie
    Apr 28, 2023 at 18:24

3 Answers 3

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Generally speaking, it's considered bad style to use the same conjunction twice in the same sentence, and in particular, very bad style to use "and" twice.

In your example, however, "and" is used in two different ways, so it's fine. The first "and" means something like "and when she got there" or "then she noticed" or something else that moves the narrative along. The second "and" conjoins two parts of a list. These two different functions mean it's not really repeating "and", so it's fine.

THAT SAID, people will criticize you for using "and" twice this close together, so if you're writing for an academic or for a standardized test, you're better off rewording the sentence to avoid using "and" twice.

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You can, but that's a bit of a weird example, primarily for the use of 'and' to connect getting home with the door being locked. The locked door and the broken door knob seem to be being presented as unexpected events (understandable for the door knob), so it sounds more natural to write :

She arrived at her home, but her door was locked, and the door knob seemed to have been broken by somebody when she was out.

The use of 'but' here makes a distinction that the door being locked was unusual - it is a situation not normally found when arriving home.

As for using 'and' more than once - a common use is to emphasise a list, where the elements in the list are somewhat onerous or unfortunate :

"She arrived at her home and she'd forgotten her key and no-one was in and the door was locked and her phone was flat and she didn't have her coat and it was starting to rain..."

An unfortunate series of events.

"I need to go to the hardware store, the bakery, the bank and the post office"

A normal set of errands.

"I need to go to the hardware store and the bakery and the bank and the post office"

A troublesome list of places to visit, perhaps due to distance or time constraints.

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Yes, but you don't need three. It isn't pretty.

Try this:
She arrived home, the door was locked, and the knob seemed to have been broken by somebody while she was out.

arrived home or at her house.

In some literary-type writing, you can repeat the word and but here, it is simply not needed.

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