ACET: Grammar Tip


Use a serial (Oxford) comma in a list


The serial/Oxford comma is a controversial rule of grammar. Some want to eliminate it, while others are unsure how to use it.

The serial comma is the last comma in a list, usually appearing before “and”.

The wildlife park has monkeys, tigers, and other creatures.

If you omit the Oxford comma, it could cause a misunderstanding.

• I love Lady Gaga, Ed Shereen and my parents – that is clear.
• I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran – are Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran your parents?
• I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Ed Sheeran – use the Oxford comma to clarify.

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