This is a line from a movie called Being John Malkovic

Carrot juice, and lots of it.

I need to know why the comma is used in the above sentence. Is "lots" the subject in it, and thus it is an independent clause and so a comma is there?

  • What are the surrounding lines? – Nihilist_Frost Oct 18 '15 at 17:51
  • It is a phrase, not a sentence. I'm guessing it is a comment with some additional meaning in context. – user3169 Oct 18 '15 at 17:53
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    @Nihilist_Frost: The line is the response to a question: "Pardon me, how old are you, sir?" The answer is "105. Carrot juice, and lots of it." It's an answer to an unasked question like "How do you stay looking so young?" So the sentence is perhaps an elliptical version of a sentence like "I look young because I drink carrot juice, and lots of it." – Nate Eldredge Oct 18 '15 at 20:14

That comma indicates a pause.

There is no subject because this is not a clause. It is simply an utterance. Not all utterances contained a tensed clause. Like this one.

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The comma is there to help you parse the sentence more easily. In general, it puts a lot of strain on people to have to backtrack sentences if you get stuck somewhere; this is exactly why we use punctuation.

Consider the sentence without the comma. You will start reading from left to right:

Carrot juice ....

Good. That sounds like a subject.

Carrot juice and lots of ...

OK. Apparently, the subject consists of two things: carrot juice, and lots of something else - perhaps quinoa or açai berries? Those are healthy! I wonder what the verb will be...


Wait. We're already at the end of the sentence? Where's the verb? What's the 'it' about? If you started on the wrong foot with this sentence, you will need to backtrack to see where you went wrong.

Let's take another look, now with the comma.

Carrot juice,

Now we have some noun without anything to go with it - we guess it's just an utterance like 'Jummie, pie!'.

and lots of it.

Yep. Definitely. Basically, the comma helps you see that the 'and' connects two utterances - without a comma, we'd think that the subject consists of multiple parts!

For cases where a comma can make the meaning of a sentence more ambiguous, I recommend reading on the Oxford Comma.

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    Great job spelling it out in this manner, I found it really clarified why that comma isn't superfluous. Thanks! To add an example, if you think of how the rhythm with which you'd speak the phrase "Carrot juice and lots of pie" versus "Carrot juice, and lots of it", you can really feel the importance of that comma. – Matt Apr 2 '16 at 16:54

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