Serial Commas

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Commas and other Writing topics.

Should I use serial commas?

Serial Commas

Experts don't agree about this, but when in doubt, it is safer to use the serial comma. ("red, white, and blue" instead of "red, white and blue"). One of the reasons that it's safer to use this comma is to ensure clarity, especially in technical or legal writing. There was a court case where there was disagreement as to how the money should be divided among 3 people because of the lack of the serial comma. (The will said that "Bob, Betty and Jane" were to split the money. Because of the missing serial comma, there was confusion as to whether Bob got 50% and Betty & Jane split the other 50%, or whether each person got 1/3.) So to be safe, always use it.



1/28/2009 12:49:31 PM
Travis said:

Does anyone know if this is an actual court case and if so, where can I find it?


URL: (optional)


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Writing Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Byron White