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Grammar Question: Commas

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Grammar Question: Commas

Postby StlSluggers » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:54 pm

When I was in high school English only 6 or 7 years ago, the rule for commas when listing multiple items was as follows:

"I like fantasy, baseball, and fantasy baseball."

I've noticed that most professional publications now form the same sentence like this:

"I like fantasy, baseball and fantasy baseball."

My question is: Why? Why drop the last comma?
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Re: Grammar Question: Commas

Postby bigh0rt » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:00 pm

StlSluggers wrote:When I was in high school English only 6 or 7 years ago, the rule for commas when listing multiple items was as follows:

"I like fantasy, baseball, and fantasy baseball."

I've noticed that most professional publications now form the same sentence like this:

"I like fantasy, baseball and fantasy baseball."

My question is: Why? Why drop the last comma?


Mainly because the people who make these judgements have recently decided that it's an unnecessary use of punctuation. As far as I know, it's accepted to include or exclude the comma in that insance.

I know that helps none, but hey, I teach Math, not English. B-)
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Re: Grammar Question: Commas

Postby StlSluggers » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:04 pm

bigh0rt wrote:
StlSluggers wrote:When I was in high school English only 6 or 7 years ago, the rule for commas when listing multiple items was as follows:

"I like fantasy, baseball, and fantasy baseball."

I've noticed that most professional publications now form the same sentence like this:

"I like fantasy, baseball and fantasy baseball."

My question is: Why? Why drop the last comma?


Mainly because the people who make these judgements have recently decided that it's an unnecessary use of punctuation. As far as I know, it's accepted to include or exclude the comma in that insance.

I know that helps none, but hey, I teach Math, not English. B-)

It just seems to me like it could cause some unnecessary confusion in instances where the middle or last item in the list happens to be comprised of two words joined by a conjunction. For instance, if I said I liked three flavors of ice cream, I could say, "I like cookie dough, peanut butter fudge and cookies and cream." Someone just reading that sentence has got to be baffled.
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Postby Pogotheostrich » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:08 pm

As far as I remember the comma before the "and" was never required but could be used. Much like using the comma for numbers greater of 1000 or more. I'm lazy and commas scare me so I don't use them in either instance.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:08 pm

YOu have mental problems when it comes to proper grammer or grammar or whatever, ?
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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:54 pm

It's known as the "Oxford Comma." If memory serves, it is more often used on our side of the Atlantic, though.

You don't have to use it, but I prefer it. Things can get confusing without it.




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Postby StlSluggers » Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:56 pm

Absolutely Adequate wrote:I dedicate this answer to my parents, Elvis and StlSluggers.

Leaving JT out, huh?
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Postby Shadow of the Sun* » Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:21 pm

I believe the convention is to only use the extra comma when listing more than three items.

In your example, there are only three items so the comma is not used, but had there been another item, such as in "I like apples, oranges, pears, and bananas." then the comma is used.

Don't know how I know that though. :-o
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Postby blankman » Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:11 pm

I believe I learned that you can do it either way. I prefer and have always used the no comma version.
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Postby Lofunzo » Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:39 pm

I always use the comma and was confused as to where it went as well. I guess that it was removed to make room for such dandies as pwned and such. :-t
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