Grammar Rules: Use a Serial Comma in a List

Posted by: Teachers-to-GO! Online Education Platform

Use a Serial Comma in a List

The serial, or Oxford, comma is a controversial rule of grammar. Some want to eliminate it altogether while others just don’t know how to use it. The serial comma is the last comma in a list, usually appearing before “and.” The serial comma comes after “dog” in this sentence:

Pets R Us has lizards, dogs, and birds.

Commas separate units in a list. In the above case, each unit only has one part, so it’s easy. Where people get confused is when the units are bigger, but the rule still applies:

Pets R Us has lizards and frogs, dogs and cats, and parakeets and macaws.

 

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