Monday, December 25, 2017

That Pesky Serial Comma

 

Using the serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma, can avoid ambiguity and litigation. At the Journal of the Missouri Bar, Vol. 73 (July/August 2017), Professor Douglas Abrams relates the unfortunate story of a statute that failed to include the comma and the ensuing litigation that cost Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy about $1.7 million.

The lesson: When you have three or more elements in a series, place a comma immediately before the conjunction that separates the last of the elements.

Example from thewritepractice.com:

 Amanda found herself in the Winnebago with her ex-boyfriend, an herbalist and a pet detective.

Amanda found herself in the Winnebago with her ex-boyfriend, an herbalist, and a pet detective. 

How many people are accompanying Amanda? With the Oxford comma, the answer is three. Without it, the answer is one.

You can read more here.

(ljs)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/12/that-pesky-serial-comma.html

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