Teaching and Learning Support: The Serial Comma

[The Oxford Comma is a fairly contentious issue among writers, and this squib doesn’t address that issue in punctuation usage. If you want this material in typescript form click on that hyperlink.]

In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last.

Thus write,

Red, white and blue

Gold, silver, of copper

He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents.

This comma is often referred to as the “serial” comma.

In the names of business firms the last comma is usually omitted. Follow the usage of the individual firm.

Little, Brown and Company

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

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