Re: Using commas

Subject: Re: Using commas
From: Joe Fockler <jfockler -at- IPHASE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 May 1994 15:32:53 -0500

A good illustration of using commas was relayed at one of those
"inexpensive" seminars. The speaker claimed that this was from an actual
court case.

Upon the death of a wealthy man, his will was probated. According to the
will, the man's wealth was to be divided equally among "Mary, Bob and
Jim." Due to the placement of the comma, Mary received 50% and Bob and
Jim split the remaining 50%. Mary was considered one "element" and
"Bob and Jim" were considered one "element."

The moral of this story is "Get a good lawyer," or "when in doubt, use a

Joe Fockler
Interphase Corporation
jfockler -at- iphase -dot- com

My opinions are politically incorrect, and do not reflect those of my

Upon the death + + I agree with Sean, Marci, and the others. +
+ Although IBM's official style includes the last comma in lists,
+ I notice almost everyone omits it in casual correspondence.
+ I think they were taught in grade school to not use the
+ last comma and the habit carries on. I have never heard
+ any justification for not using the last comma.

+ David Oberstadt Santa Teresa Lab
+ daveo -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com San Jose, California

+ If something is done well,
+ no one will ask 'How long did
+ it take?' but 'Who did it?'

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