Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Serial commas

More sports-commentator-isms:

"He can really elevate [jump]."
"They've got a fast-break situation [a fast break]."
"He just can't get untracked [on track]."

Anyway . . .

Do any lawyers reading this dislike using a full complement of serial commas? For example--

1. The court heard arguments, evidence, and objections.
2. The court heard arguments, evidence and objections.

If you prefer number 2, can you explain why?

Journalists prefer number 2. Can anyone tell me why that is?

I just looked it up in 5 legal style books, and all 5 recommend a full set of serial commas--that is, a comma before the "and" or "or" in a series.

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