Letter to the Editor - May 18, 2017
I am not yet a Daniel Island resident, but I hope to move there in the near future. My son lives in the Wando area and I recently enjoyed a visit with him through Mother’s Day. While in the area, I often read The Daniel Island News. To anyone who got a score of 9 (instead of 8) on the “Counting Commas” quiz in the “Grammar Matters” feature of “Let’s Have Some Fun” (page 37 in the May 11-17 issue), you are also correct!
In the answer key, two commas were added to the third sentence: “For her report, Marcie interviewed a scientist, a chemist and a pharmacist.” This punctuation is fine, but there is another correct solution utilizing three commas: “For her report, Marcie interviewed a scientist, a chemist, and a pharmacist.”
Inclusion of a comma before the “and” in a series of three or more items (sometimes called the “serial comma” or “Oxford comma”) is an acceptable style that can make a sentence clearer, especially those containing complex lists. Many respected editorial style guides, including that of the American Medical Association (AMA), call for consistent use of the serial comma.