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.
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.
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.