comma before 'and'/'or' [serial comma]: a flashlight, a bottle, and a

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Hi again.
I have a doubt. Can I use comma in a list of three or more before ¨and¨ or ¨or¨?

example:

The pilot took with him a flashlight, a bottle, and a pencil for the trip.
The pilot took with him a flashlight, a bottle, and a pencil

In a list of three or more, will the comma will be always before the or or and?

Thank you

:p
 
  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Again, I'd say the comma was optional. I'm not saying the references suggested by JustKate will agree with me.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I agree that the comma is optional. However, I don't want Escritor to get the idea that it is easy to find a consensus on this issue because it isn't easy at all, which is why I provided the links to other threads.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    It actually is easy because the comma can be used or not used as needed. It is genuinely optional. Whether or not to use the comma is a style issue, not an issue of "This is correct and this other thing is incorrect."

    The problem is that there are people (and if you're taking a class, one of those people might be your instructor, or if you're writing something for work, one of those people might be your boss or whoever reads what you wrote) who believe that there is a rule - that the comma must be used or, alternatively, that it should not be used.

    There are sentences where the comma helps in comprehension, but in the majority, it doesn't matter a bit. I will say that it's very seldom incorrect to use the comma. Someone might then say "That's not necessary," but he will find it very difficult to say "That's wrong."
     
    Last edited:

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree that the comma is optional. However, I don't want Escritor to get the idea that it is easy to find a consensus on this issue because it isn't easy at all, which is why I provided the links to other threads.
    I agree. I'd put one in myself because there would be a pause for breath in speech. But it's not wrong to omit it.
     
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