A comma between each pair of items in the list would put all items on equal standing regardless of length, would give each item its own slot between commas or bookending the list, would make the separation between items clear, and would make each list more symmetrical, balanced, and measured. The problem with all of those lists is that the last and/or second-to-last item is much shorter than at least one other item in the list, leading our minds to group two separate items together because of their shortness and the lack of a comma separating them. As Grammar Girl says, “Although the serial comma isn’t always necessary, I favor it because often it does add clarity, and I believe in having a simple, consistent style, instead of trying to decide whether you need something on a case-by-case basis.
The way they are, those lists often require re-reading so our minds can perform the mental separation that the authors were too dense to provide on the page.
The imbalance created by the disparate lengths of the list’s items can be largely or even completely eliminated by the placement of a comma to mark the separation between each pair of items.
In such cases it is almost never necessary to separate the items of the list with semicolons.
That is a ridiculous sentence that is difficult to follow because of the lack of Oxford commas before the last two ors. ” No, that sentence is perfectly clear with Oxford commas but no semicolons: As is made clear by the Oxford commas, the only individual item in that list that contains commas is the last one.
Thirteen adolescents aged 13–18 years with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes, 19 parents and 9 health-care professionals participated.
I think I understand the author’s point, agree and would like to share my understanding for review.
According to definition, if it isn’t applicable at all times and in all situations, it isn’t a rule; it’s a preference, and a misguided one at that.
The problem is that omitting the final comma 100% of the time leads to awkward, confusing, and even ambiguous sentences, whereas inserting a comma before the last item is way to definitively express the meaning of the sentence.
Really, unless space is incredibly expensive, I can’t imagine why anyone would decide the best method is sometimes leave it out and sometimes add it in.” a.
I also think using the serial comma makes even simple lists easier to read.
Can And and But be used at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing? State-of-being verbs take adjectives, not adverbs 15. This leads us to temporarily group the last pair of items together when they should be separate.