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comma before 'and' vs. no comma before 'and'

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by coolwater, Jul 2, 2009.


comma before 'and' vs. no comma before 'and'

Poll closed Jul 12, 2009.
  1. I bought bread, milk, and egg.

    27 vote(s)
  2. I bought bread, milk and egg.

    28 vote(s)
  3. BOTH

    18 vote(s)
  1. macrumors 6502a


    1 space or 2 spaces after a period poll was surprisingly interesting.

    Then, do you put comma before 'and' or not?

    Example #1> I bought bread, milk, and eggs.

    Example #2> I bought bread, milk and eggs.

    I was told to do #1 in high school. But, my college English professor (actually a very hot TA) said both are okay. She said she does #1 because that's how she was taught, but #2 is okay as well.
  2. macrumors 604


    def. no comma. used to get counted off 3 points in English if we even tried that stuff...oh I loved eigth grade, but then again this is Texas we talk about.
  3. macrumors regular

  4. macrumors G5

    I've always heard that either was is acceptable, but I never put that comma, it just looks weird.
  5. macrumors 603


    I'm glad I missed that. (I left Texas in 7th grade, cane back in 9th. :p)

    But I also don't use the comma. It just looks weird to me.
  6. macrumors 68040


    I always used a comma, since I think that is what the Chicago Manual uses.

    BTW, when did this turn into grammar rumors? :)
  7. Moderator emeritus


    Both are correct.

    Generally, you use no comma in a simple series, such as the one you provided. You always use a comma in more complex series, such as: I got up this morning, took a shower, ate breakfast, and went to work.

    You can also use a semi-colon in some cases: I got up this morning, it was too early; took a shower, the water was cold; ate breakfast, cereal again; and went to work.
  8. macrumors 604


    Long before you joined...
  9. Moderator emeritus


    BTW, your poll should read:

    I bought bread, milk and eggs.


    I bought bread, milk and an egg.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Always use a comma.
  11. macrumors 604


    That last one is a tad bit different though, considering that you are modifying each of the things being listed, the commas would become rather confusing. I do believe both is correct, but I def. don't use the ", and" method.
  12. macrumors 68040


    i change it up depending how i feel.;)
  13. Moderator emeritus


    Yes, it is different. I thought I would share, since we are on the subject of commas in a series.
  14. macrumors P6


    i use a comma
  15. Moderator emeritus


    From the AP Stylebook:

  16. macrumors P6


    english is too hard. i only use the punctuation thats needed to convey my point lol
  17. Moderator emeritus


    Here, I'm more relaxed ... but at work, English is my job.
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Makes more sense. Recommended or a must?

    Second question: Can I put comma in a simple series to emphasize? i.e. we only have red, white, and blue.
  19. Moderator emeritus


    It all depends on which manual of style you choose to follow. I don't remember what S&W, MLA or Chicago say.
  20. macrumors Penryn


    Damn. I always use the comma.

    I'm gonna make the switcheroo over to the non-comma side.
  21. macrumors demi-god


    No comma, at least for me

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  22. macrumors 68020


    The comma before the conjunction is often referred to as the "Oxford comma," where the additional comma is traditionally preferred, although the school's own style guide officially recommends against it.

    In general, conventional wisdom is to avoid the Oxford comma as unnecessary, but this is a flexible rule. Any writer will encounter situations where clarity of a sentence can be increased or decreased by inclusion or exclusion of the comma, and of course one should always err on the side of greater clarity.
  23. macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    The Oxford Comma, I think it's called. (EDIT: Er, yeah, as Gelfin says).

    It's something I use and - having checked up on it - it's fine to do so. I think the key thing if you're going to use it is to use it in a consistant manner.
  24. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    I prefer, use, and recommend the comma.

    My reason? You pause when you say the sentence out loud, and the comma represents the pause.
  25. macrumors 68000


    I always thought things in a list were always listed with commas, unless the two things you don't put a comma between are somehow connected.

    For example, unrelated items get commas between all of them:
    "I went to the store and bought milk, eggs, and cheese."

    Items which go together as a pair get commas:
    "For breakfast, we are having bacon and eggs, sausage, and toast." Bacon and eggs are a pair, while sausage and toast aren't necessarily tied together.

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