Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use

Subject: Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use
From: Bruce Wolf <brucerwolf -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Ken Banks <edits -at- hawaii -dot- rr -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 13:19:34 -0800 (PST)

Good for you, Ken.

I'm trying to remember another example other people
have used to show that the serial comma adds clarity.
It may be the following.

Al Geist said, "I owe everything to my parents, Kathy
and God."

Al Geist said, "I owe everything to my parents, Kathy,
and God."

The first sentence implies Kathy and God are Al's

The second sentence removes the ambiguity.

I'll apologize in advance to Al if, indeed, his
parents are Kathy and God.

BW :)

--- Ken Banks <edits -at- hawaii -dot- rr -dot- com> wrote:

> Al Geist writes
> <<This is one of those battles that will go on
> forever and never,
> ever be settled to everyone's liking. For the
> record, I am an old
> journalist (among other things) and in our industry,
> the last comma
> is not needed.
> This, that and the other thing is good.
> This, that, and the other thing is not good.
> Do both sentences carry the same meaning....yep.>>
> I've seen examples in tech writing & editing books
> in which the
> absence of the final comma made a big difference . .
> . (search
> through books) . . .Ok, Carolyn D. Rude, in her book
> *Technical
> Editing,* (Allyn & Bacon 1998) states that "most
> handbooks" recommend
> using the final comma. She writes, "The comma is
> especially important
> for clarification when one item in the series
> includes a conjunction.
> A coordinating conjunction may signal that one of
> the items in the
> series has two components as well as signal the end
> of the series.
> The comma establishes with certainty that the series
> is ending. Some
> readers may stumble over the following sentence.
> "Good hygiene, such as sneezing into a tissue,
> washing hands before
> handling food and cleaning utensils and cutting
> boards thoroughly,
> eliminates most of the risk of transmitting bacteria
> in food handling."
> She acknowledges that the final comma is not used in
> journalism and
> advises writers using a journalistic style to
> structure sentences so
> as to prevent confusion.
> Ken

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Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use: From: Ken Banks

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