Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Fondness for the Comma

Ok, this one is a no-brainer for me. I LOVE the serial comma.
And nope, the serial comma is not a series of commas, like this: , , , , , , , , , , ,
The serial comma is a comma that comes before the final conjunction in a list.

For example:
Nancy likes candy, apples, and grapefruit. (OK, I don't really like grapefruit, but that's beside the point.)

With the comma, it means I like 1. candy, 2. apples, and 3. grapefruit.

But...check this out:
Nancy likes candy apples and grapefruit.

Without the serial comma, this sentences means that I like candy (or candied) apples and also grapefruit. If that's what I mean to say, the above sentence is correct.

Commas are powerful little buggers. They can change the meaning of a sentence.
Where would you like the commas to go in these sentences?

Jim wants to run walk and swim.
Nellie has a cat bird and a dog.
Horace wants to eat chocolate chips and pretzels.
Will Lindsey Ann or Kelly read one two or three books this summer?

Did you trick anyone with your creative comma usage?

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