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A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope. ― Neil Gaiman

May you grammatically discern A world in which there are monsters a noun phrase? And why may this writer seem to place a comma after maybe something like and ghosts and not maybe after and dreams or maybe after and things that want to steal your heart?

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A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope.

A good test to find the subject in a sentence is to make the sentence into a question. The part of the sentence that changes places with the auxiliary verb is the subject. The auxiliary verb in this sentence is the word is. If we make a question, we get:

  • [Is] [a world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart] a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope?

This shows that that phrase in brackets, [ ], is the noun phrase:

  • a world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart.

... because this is the section of the sentence which changed places with is.

The Original Poster is correct that the sentence has been inconsistently punctuated. For me, a British English speaker, the sentence seems better with no commas at all:

  • A world in which there are monsters and ghosts and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels and dreams and a world in which there is hope.

However, it's important to remember that comma usage is usually not about rules, but the personal choices and preferences of the writer.

Note: as pointed out helpfully by Fumblefingers below there's a quite a good case for putting a comma after dreams. This would help show that the structure of the complement phrase is:

  • [a world in which there are {angels} and {dreams}], and [a world in which there is hope]

The structure isn't like this:

  • [a world in which there are {angels} and {dreams} and {a world in which there is hope}]
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  • I'd also discard all the commas in OP's cited example, but I would add one after angels and dreams. Jul 5, 2015 at 13:49
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, there'd be clear demarcation then between the two coordinates in the complement phrase. I'll add that in as a possibility. Jul 5, 2015 at 16:32
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    Yeah - I think the acid test here is to try reading it out aloud. You'd definitely include a significant pause after angels and dreams. If you didn't, it would just sound really weird. Jul 5, 2015 at 16:37
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"A world in which there are monsters, ghosts, and things that want to stral your heart" is the noun phrase that forms the subject of the sentence.

As for the comma after "angels"— I would have left it out, as "angels and dreams" is only a two-item list.

However, there should NOT be a comma after "dreams" (nor an "and", as this makes "a world in which there is hope" sound like another alternative, rarher than an appositive.)

To make it clear that this is an appositive, you would need

— a semicolon: " . . . angels and dreams; a world in which there is hope." Or - an em dash: " . . . angels and dreams— a world in which there is hope.

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  • So a world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart gets thought a noun phrase? And, and a world in which there is hope gets thought an appositive phrase? I guess I thought appositive phrases place information on maybe a noun near it? I may not get what and a world in which there is hope places information on like which noun if it seems like an appositive? I guess I may not get if this writer places a comma after and ghosts why not after and dreams? May you get to place a comma after and dreams?
    – saySay
    Jul 3, 2015 at 15:32
  • There are three noun phrases. The one ending at heart is the subject. The other two noun phrases, ending with dreams and hope respectively, jointly form the predicate; they are both equated to the subject by "is". I took out the "and" to clarify that the third phrase is an appositive of the second phrase; these latter two phrases are adjacent. A world....is a world....—a world.... Get it? Jul 4, 2015 at 0:26
  • A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart, subject(?), a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope. object(?), and a world in which there is hope appositive phrase(?) and noun phrase(?). May one phrase seem like two phrases? I think I maybe thought an appositive phrase places information on maybe a noun maybe near it? I may not get what noun if that seems like an appositive it may place information on. I guess I thought appositive phrases go something like maybe My uncle, a lawyer, is visiting us?
    – saySay
    Jul 4, 2015 at 1:25
  • @saySay If you ask another question asking for a complete grammatical analysis of the sentence with an explanation, I'll write one for you! Jul 4, 2015 at 13:39
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Actually you have a very simple sentence structure: A world with monsters is also a world with angels.

Don't worry about the comma before and. There is no strict rule, sometimes you find a comma and often there is none. Manuals of punctuation can set up certain rules, but they are not always observed.

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