SurfaceTension: It's a convention. There's no right or wrong answer. Just pick one and go with it.
Sybarite: Con: "Those at the ceremony were the commodore, the fleet captain, the donor of the cup, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Jones."This example from the 1934 style book of the New York Herald Tribune shows how a comma before "and" can result in a lack of clarity. With the comma, it reads as if Mr. Smith was the donor of the cup, which he was not.It doesn't read that way at all to me.
Pocket Ninja: Fact: Commas are designed to provide readers with spaces to breathe while reading. Reading-related asphyxiation deaths increase by approximately 17 percent when Oxford commas are not employed.
doyner: The problem is with the purists that insist on sticking to one convention. Its use or non-use should be situational based on the context the writer wishes to convey.
the_rev: doyner: The problem is with the purists that insist on sticking to one convention. Its use or non-use should be situational based on the context the writer wishes to convey.This ^.Well put. I don't know why people can't understand this.
Peki: fake one
Marcus Aurelius: You know, I came in here to post a few little known facts about the Oxford comma, but it appears I have been beaten to the punch by Pocket Ninja, Pocket Ninja, and Pocket Ninja.
ZeroPly: Why pick one? Use whatever style you want. These contrived examples of ambiguity are ridiculous. If your sentence is ambiguous, REWRITE THE MOTHERF*CKERrewrite the motherf*cker. English is a natural language,. iIf you can't deal with it then start writing in Lojban. Grammarianssts need to stop pretending they are programmers.
vudukungfu: Take this note from the governor at the last minute:Pardon, Impossible to execute.v.s.Pardon impossible, to execute.
sigdiamond2000: I don't think I've met a single editor or writer who gives f*ck one about this either way. This is the kind of thing only quote-unquote "linguists" and senior citizens care about. In other words, the unemployed.
ginandbacon: My mother, who is a retired editor so both unemployed and a senior, HATES commas. After 4 decades at Houghton Mifflin, she came to the conclusion that most punctuation is stupid and fussy and just gets in the way of a clean read.
Eric The Pilot: there is a difference between helping your uncle, jack, off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
Aidan: ginandbacon: My mother, who is a retired editor so both unemployed and a senior, HATES commas. After 4 decades at Houghton Mifflin, she came to the conclusion that most punctuation is stupid and fussy and just gets in the way of a clean read.It seems to be entirely personal, too. Where I need a comma is not where another reader might need one. Worse; reading aloud requires different punctuation than reading silently. And don't even get me started on semi-colons (like the one in the previous sentence, which I hate).
the_rev: Semicolons are cool; they make mini-sentences.
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