Killing the extra comma
Serial commas are academic but not very useful.
by Helen, published 03/13/2014
- Never underestimate the reader. (Very few readers are going to think your cousins are Queen Elizabeth and the Pope.)
- The digital world whittles writing down to its essentials. Adding an unnecessary comma slows the writing process.
- Many people don’t use the serial comma correctly. There is no need, for instance, to put a comma in the following construction: red, white, and blue. The comma before and is redundant.
- The AP Stylebook and the New York Times Stylebook (both used primarily by journalists) discourage the use of the serial comma as does The Business Style Handbook (used primarily by business writers).
- According to the Oxford Dictionary, the “Oxford” comma is “optional.” Options often drive writers to stylebooks to double-check the rule. Why not just make a decision once and for all!
- Less is more, especially when it comes to punctuation.