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Comma before “and”?

Which is correct: “The flag is red, white, and blue” or “The flag is red, white and blue”? Actually, both are acceptable. However, as a general practice the recommended business style is to use the comma before “and.” This comes straight from the Gregg Reference Manual, my favorite grammar dispute settler. According to Gregg: “When three or more items are listed in a series and the last item is preceded by and, or, or nor, place a comma before the conjunction.” However, many newspapers and magazines prefer the “non-comma” style, and that is also acceptable. But what is not acceptable is to use both styles intermittently. Pick one style and stick with it. Otherwise, you look careless.

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008