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View Full Version : Okay geniuses (LOL) the comma in a list



edfrzr
07-03-2006, 09:16 AM
I've seen two different philosophies on the comma (in a list).

Which of the sentences in the following examples are correct?


1. He was tall, dark, and handsome. OR He was tall, dark and handsome.

2. Billy, Joseph, and Karen went to the store. OR Billy, Joseph and Karen went to the store.

thanks all

Puma
07-03-2006, 01:59 PM
Anciently speaking, if the latter two items in a series went together (bread and butter) or could be considered a unit (Mom and Dad), there was no comma; but if they were separate entities, there was a comma. Modern usage seems to have gotten away from the final comma. Another of the old rules was to use a comma to prevent misreading, so if you feel there could be misunderstanding without the comma, use it. (And also wait to see what everyone else says). Puma

MacAllister
07-03-2006, 02:38 PM
All right-thinking people continue to use the Oxford comma (that final comma in the series, before "and") in spite of the (regrettable) recent fad of deleting it.

alleycat
07-03-2006, 02:49 PM
All right-thinking people continue to use the Oxford comma (that final comma in the series, before "and") in spite of the recent fad for deleting it.
And Mr. E. B. White would agree with you.

Although, as long as you're consistent, you won't get into too much trouble either way. IMHO

illiterwrite
07-03-2006, 04:05 PM
You can use either, as long as you use them consistently, like Alleycat said.

Jamesaritchie
07-03-2006, 05:32 PM
Use the final comma unless the last two items are a unit. Consistency is nice, but getting it the way editors want it is a heck of a lot nicer.

edfrzr
07-03-2006, 06:41 PM
thank you all.

TemlynWriting
07-03-2006, 10:38 PM
All right-thinking people continue to use the Oxford comma (that final comma in the series, before "and") in spite of the (regrettable) recent fad of deleting it.Exactly! Personally, it drives me batty when I don't see that comma before "and," but I can understand the reasoning of those who do it.

arrowqueen
07-04-2006, 12:19 AM
In Britain, we only use the Oxford comma on high days and holidays. The rest of the time a simple 'and' does us fine.