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I have to say that the latest quote from AdviceToWriters is spot-on:

The use of commas cannot be learned by rule. Not only does conventional practice vary from period to period, but good writers of the same period differ among themselves. . . . The correct use of the comma—if there is such a thing as “correct” use—can only be acquired by common sense, observation and taste.  SIR ERNEST GOWERS

Of course, try telling this to standardized test designers or curriculum experts. 

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