[Fwd: Re: Proper use of commas in England?]

Subject: [Fwd: Re: Proper use of commas in England?]
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:28:05 PST

On Wed, 29 Nov 1995 12:04:19 -0800 you wrote:

>This question is for anyone with a good knowledge of written English *as it
>is used in England*.

Thou asketh a lot one of those who art not a student of Shakespeare or His
Majesty King James's Bible. :-)

>In the USA, it is currently acceptable to either include or omit a comma
>just before the "and" at the end of a string of named items. For example:

> A complete computer package includes a CPU, a keyboard, and a mouse.

> A complete computer package includes a CPU, a keyboard and a mouse.

>I have been recently told (quite forcefully) that the final comma MUST BE
>OMITTED in documentation that is going to be used in England . . . that
>such a comma is totally UNacceptable there.

>Is this true, or do I just have someone trying to impose his personal
>preference on me?

I know that here in Canada, we were always taught to omit the last comma. Our
take on the language often has more in common with it British roots than with
the American bastardizations <g> so I would expect that, as with many other
parts of language, things like this that are the "rule" in Canada are pretty
much the "law" across the pond.

Actually, the difference in American and Canadian usage in this case is
somewhat backward from the norm - Canadians are usually the ones more likely
to waver between "original" and American versions of spellings and such.
Example: colo(u)r, labo(u)r, etc. From what we were told in school, at least,
the American spellings of such words are vehemently *without* the 'u' (to the
point where most American teachers would mark such words wrong on a spelling
test if they included the 'u'), while the Queen's versions could be spelled
only *with* the 'u'. As Canadians students, of course, we had the choice of
using either spelling.

Same applies to such words as plough/plow, draught/draft, cheque/check, etc.

Your friend and mine,
Matt Ion
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