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By invading the forest first, weakening the morale of the army and making an inroad from the side after that, we have a higher possibility of victory. Soldier on! By Mark Thompson

Why is it that there is no comma before "and" here?

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The example quote has lots of commas already. Adding another comma would make the sentence more confusing.

I use the Oxford comma. But I do not think the Oxford comma is applicable to this example.

I think the example has the form:

By invading the forest first, <parenthetical note>, we have a higher possibility of victory.

The parenthetical note only contains two items:

weakening the morale of the army and making an inroad from the side after that

so the Oxford comma is irrelevant. (Oxford commas are only used in lists of three or more items.)

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The use or omission of the Oxford comma is a favorite of internet grammar fiends. The reason is that without it there is the possibility of an ambiguous passage (as we see here.) The difficulty is that sometimes its inclusion causes other ambiguities. Here is a good video explaining why or why not it would be used.

This is a somewhat ambiguous passage because of the lack of the comma. Are they invading the forest first to gain a higher possibility of victory, and the invasion of the forest entails weakening the morale of the army then making an inroad from the side? Or instead are they first invading the forest, then weaking the morale of the army, then finally making an inroad from the side?

It seems likely this author intended the latter option, and I would personally have preferred the use of the serial comma before "and," but it is seen as an optional comma in most cases.

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The sentence already makes use of several commas. It would make the sentence awkward. Also, "and" makes the first part of the sentence not in need of a comma.

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/By invading the forest first/ and /we have a higher possibility of victory/ = ONE Full meaning.

/weakening the morale of the army and making an inroad from the side after that/ is the modifier (to give more info) of /By invading the forest first/ and /we have a higher possibility of victory/.

/weakening the morale of the army/ and /making an inroad from the side after that/ have one related meaning. therefore, we do not need to use comma before "and". what @jasper said is right to avoid confusion

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From experience, it seems that the Oxford comma is optional in written works. I generally use it to avoid confusion, however I believe that the sentence is considered correct with or without the comma.

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