Friday, March 17, 2017

Hate to say I told you so, but....use that final comma or you may lose in court (and lose big bucks)

Comma Guidelines - Jean TarboxFor years I've been advising you, my students, to use what's called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. I know that your middle school and high school teachers probably told you not to use it, but I am going to respectfully disagree. It will help you to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings like this:

The student council president promised longer recess, higher grades and ice cream and cake. That would be much better written as "longer recess, higher grades, and ice cream and cake." That's a silly example, but using the final comma in a series before "and" just makes this more clear. So, why not?

Today a story broke about a court case where a student who learned NOT to use the serial comma wrote a piece of regulation that is causing all sorts of legal mayhem (and one company a lot of money).

Here's the story: