Comma placement for a parenthetical after “and”?

2017-12-12 19:16:21

I find myself writing sentences like this often:

A. Here's a summary of our discussion, and if needed, more detail can be found at www.website.com.

I'm not sure if the commas there look quite right. Assuming that "if needed" is in fact a parenthetical, then I'd thought it needed a pair of commas (or parentheses, em dashes) to separate it:

B. Here's a summary of our discussion, and, if needed, more detail can be found at www.website.com.

This continues to separate the two independent clauses with a comma (the one after "discussion"), but that's a lot of commas. Alternately, there's this one.

C. Here's a summary of our discussion, and if needed more detail can be found at www.website.com.

But this reads awkwardly to me: it feels as though there's a "you" missing after the "if."

I'm looking to understand the core issue with comma placement for this particular sentence structure. So, here are my questions:

Is "if needed" a parenthetical statement?

Witho

  • A case can be made for all three versions. To start with, if needed is not necessarily a parenthetical—it can be, but it can also just be a constituent in the sentence. If you pause before it, it’s a parenthetical; if you don’t, it’s not.

    If we treat if needed as a parenthetical, then (B) is definitely the correct option: parentheticals need enclosing commas; that’s our cue that they’re parentheticals. The conjunction and also needs a preceding comma. So:

    (B) Here's a summary of our discussion, and, if needed, more detail can be found at www.website.com. √

    The comma before and would be considered obligatory to most purists, since and starts a separate main clause here; but informally, you can probably get away with omitting it:

    Here's a summary of our discussion and, if needed, more detail can be found at www.website.com. (?)

    If we don’t treat if needed as a parenthetical, then there is no need to put a comma before it. It is still a kind of adverbial-like constituent

    2017-12-12 20:42:45