Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

English question regarding Commas [a, b, and c or a, b and c?] Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    When listing something, which way is the right one:

    1. I want to go to Spain, Italy, and Greece.

    2. I want to go to Spain, Italy and Greece.

    In other words, when listing 3 or more things, do you use a comma before and or not?

    If its for a formal letter, let's say a cover letter, which one would be correct?
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    The second one
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I would use 2.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Don't use the comma before "and".
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    A comma is not required before the word "and"; it would be number two.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Only Oxford use the comma before 'and'.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by llpokermuffinll)
    When listing something, which way is the right one:

    1. I want to go to Spain, Italy, and Greece.

    2. I want to go to Spain, Italy and Greece.

    In other words, when listing 3 or more things, do you use a comma before and or not?

    If its for a formal letter, let's say a cover letter, which one would be correct?
    Also, *it's.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by llpokermuffinll)
    When listing something, which way is the right one:

    1. I want to go to Spain, Italy, and Greece.

    2. I want to go to Spain, Italy and Greece.

    In other words, when listing 3 or more things, do you use a comma before and or not?

    If its for a formal letter, let's say a cover letter, which one would be correct?
    Use 2.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    I use 1. It avoids ambiguity. Here's an example using both versions:

    1. I would like to thank my parents, Mary, and God.

    2. I would like to thank my parents, Mary and God.

    See?
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OMG TOOTHBRUSH)
    I use 1. It avoids ambiguity. Here's an example using both versions:

    1. I would like to thank my parents, Mary, and God.

    2. I would like to thank my parents, Mary and God.

    See?
    That's right in that situation, but in a list you don't use a comma before and.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    In the case you gave, option 2. But sometimes it is a good idea to place a comma before 'and'; often the case when there are other 'and's' in the sentence:

    They sold chocolate, chocolate and banana, and strawberry milkshakes. For a very simple example.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by mathew551)
    Only Oxford use the comma before 'and'.
    What do you mean by only Oxford use it?

    I mean, do you mean only students and staff at Oxford university use it? Or people following some 'Oxford-Rules' or something?
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    14
    (Original post by llpokermuffinll)
    What do you mean by only Oxford use it?

    I mean, do you mean only students and staff at Oxford university use it? Or people following some 'Oxford-Rules' or something?
    The comma preceding "and" is often called an "Oxford comma", although it doesn't have that much to do with Oxford. Oxford University Press recommends it, but that doesn't mean it's used throughout the university, and almost certainly isn't used by students and staff (and if any of them do, it's not as a result of being in Oxford or anything).

    At school I was always taught not to use it. but frankly, it doesn't really matter whether or not it's used... as long as serious ambiguity doesn't happen, it's fine with or without.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by dothestrand)
    That's right in that situation, but in a list you don't use a comma before and.

    I know what you mean, but even with lists there can still be ambiguity without a comma before and. Here are a couple of examples from the wikipedia link someone else has posted:

    Consider also:

    My usual breakfast is coffee, bacon and eggs and toast.
    Three foods are listed, but it is uncertain which are the second and third. Adding a serial comma removes this ambiguity. With a comma after eggs, the foods are:

    1.Coffee
    2.Bacon and eggs
    3.Toast
    With a comma after bacon:

    1.Coffee
    2.Bacon
    3.Eggs and toast


    They went to Oregon with Betty, a maid, and a cook.
    This is ambiguous because it is unclear whether "a maid" is an appositive describing Betty, or the second in a list of three people. On the other hand, removing the final comma –

    They went to Oregon with Betty, a maid and a cook –
    leaves the possibility that Betty is both a maid and a cook (with "a maid and a cook" read as a unit, in apposition to Betty).


    I just use a comma before and all the time, it makes it easier, I only don't use it like that in the rare cases where using it before and results in ambiguity, like in the second example where I would reword the sentence. I don't care that I was taught you're 'not meant to' use it like that, I do because I think it's better.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by llpokermuffinll)
    When listing something, which way is the right one:

    1. I want to go to Spain, Italy, and Greece.

    2. I want to go to Spain, Italy and Greece.

    In other words, when listing 3 or more things, do you use a comma before and or not?

    If its for a formal letter, let's say a cover letter, which one would be correct?
    The second one. My english teacher always told us to never put a comma before the word 'and' and never to start a sentence with it either. Hope that helped
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I must be the only person told to use a comma before 'and' whilst at school
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Will you be richer or poorer than your parents?
    Useful resources

    Make your revision easier

    OMAM

    Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

    Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.

    Notes

    Revision Hub

    All our revision materials in one place

    Love books

    Common grammar and vocabulary problems

    Get your questions asked and answered

    Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.