christmas book wishes

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Wed Dec 31 13:41:40 EST 2003

>>> This is what Truss calls (IIRC) the Oxford comma, and it's largely a 
>>> matter
>>> of national preference. In my experience US editors want it in, but 
>>> UK ones
>>> prefer to omit it.
>> That's weird, because Chicago Style absolutely bans it.


My copy of "Chicago" (new 15th edition) says this:

"Items in a series are normally separated by commas . . . When a 
conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma--known as 
the serial comma or the Oxford comma--should appear before the 
conjunction. Chicago strongly recommends this widely practiced usage, 
blessed by Fowler and other authorities . . . since it prevent 

I imagine that it might be the APA Style Guide which "bans" it. It 
seems to be a journalistic convention to leave it out.

I think my favourite example of the need for the serial comma is "He 
introduced me to his parents, Ayn Rand, and God." (take out the second 
comma and see what happens!)



I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced 
to tell lies is much worse.
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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