Monday, January 31, 2011

60-Second Syntax: Serial Comma

60-Second Syntax is a quick look at some common mistakes in writing.

Please note: Different editors may follow different styles and rules.

Today, we’re talking about the serial comma.

A serial comma is the comma that appears before a conjunction when listing a series.

Example: Her lunch consisted of an apple, peanut butter, and a bottle of water.

The highlight shows the serial comma.

Chicago Manual of Style advocates the use of the serial comma. Others, such as the AP Style Guide, chose to eliminate it.

What this means to you, the writer, is that the choice is yours as to whether or not to use the serial comma. Whatever your choice, just make sure that you are consistent throughout the manuscript. Also, be aware that an editor may ask you to add/remove the serial comma to conform to the publisher's house guide.