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Friday, May 31st 2013, 4:02pm

Comma usage in a series or list

Hello everyone,

I have noticed a common usage of commas throughout TVP media and literature that I would like to address. When a speaker or writer is using a group of words or ideas, it seems common to leave the comma before the last "and" out. I have come to learn that there is a difference in meaning between "greed, war, crime and poverty" and "greed, war, crime, and poverty". The first would indicate that crime and poverty are one idea, where the latter would indicate that they are separate ideas. A very simple example might be "macaroni and cheese" or "tea and cookies" versus "macaroni, and cheese" or "tea, and cookies". I'm not sure if other readers associate crime and poverty as a single concept, or as two separate. When transcribing or proofreading, is it a common understanding that if the comma is left out that the two words connected by "and" are separate ideas, or is there a risk of eventually associating the two ideas as one?

Thank you!

Gene :smiley:

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Friday, May 31st 2013, 5:01pm

I questioned that as well when I saw the guidelines. Correct English grammar requires the comma before the "and"

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Friday, May 31st 2013, 6:21pm

In the "Greek" grammar, the "and" which is translated "και" is a binding word binding two different things either they are sentences, adjectives, nouns etc. The comma is used in order to avoid several "and". So comma in this case is equivalent to "and" and it is omitted whenever and is used. In order to illustrate your point you could use a better example like:

Tom and Jerry, Mickey and Mini and Tweety and Sylvester are some of the most important pairs in the comic industry

My personal opinion based on my skills in English and my experience with the Greek grammar
Always if more than one things are "added" by the binding word "and" there would be some explanation in the sentence so there is no confusion. In the example is the word "pair" who says to the reader that you should read the words in pairs. So the following sentence should be also correct and have the exact same meaning in Greek
Tom and Jerry and Mickey and Mini and Tweety and Sylvester are some of the most important pairs in the comic industry
Maybe a little awkward due to what we are used to in everyday use of Language but it's still considered correct.

If the word "pair' was missing i.e.

Tom and Jerry, Mickey and Mini and Tweety and Sylvester are some of the most important comic titles
Then the sentence is not accepted as grammatically correct and should be revised.

Finally the sentence
Tom and Jerry and Mickey and Mini and Tweety and Sylvester are some of the most important comic titles
is correct and can be rewritten as follow, having the exact same meaning
Tom, Jerry, Mickey, Mini, Tweety, Sylvester are some of the most important comic titles

In order to solve the problem above without commas, other binding words can be used.

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  • "benzaiten" is male

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Wednesday, July 3rd 2013, 2:23pm

this is the permalink on this topic from LTI Facebook group


I just pasted all comments from the Facebook Post as refence on this forum too.

Arjen G'd Fortune Very good point, and question, Gene. In Dutch it is grammatically wrong to use a comma before* 'and' which is 'en' in Dutch. Thus I myself might be making mistakes with comma usage due to my first language 'instincts'.
31 May at 17:26 · Like · 1

Meir Hurwitz The guidelines that the English team is using specifically states that the comma in front of the and as you showed SHOULD be missing. From what I know of English grammar, it should be INCLUDED as you pointed out. Your reasoning is good.
31 May at 17:26 · Like · 1

Meir Hurwitz Not after Arjen - before
31 May at 17:27 · Like

Ray Gman Interesting timing, Gene, as this specific issue has been very recently brought up by Di. It used to be taught that there should not be a comma before the word 'and' in a list, but I believe that was adjusted some time ago. If the current LTI guideli...See More
31 May at 17:45 · Like · 2

Gene Cox Hi Ray, I posted the same question in a thread under 'Tea and Cookies'. Comma usage in a series or list
31 May at 17:51 · Like

Ray Gman I send a PM to ensure the Eng Dep't is aware of the post, Gene. If there happens to be another thread for the topic already, they can easily be merged.
31 May at 18:01 · Like · 2

Di Kruse this Team!
31 May at 18:35 · Like · 3

Marina Bakilin Use the comma when denoting a series. This is a set of three or more "list" items within a sentence. Many writers omit the last comma as "and" is also a connective ("The basket contained apples, bananas and oranges.").
The fruit basket contained apples, bananas, and oranges.

That's what I just found 'accidently' while looking up how to use commas (for myself).
31 May at 21:25 · Like · 1

Marina Bakilin It's similar for German.. the German rules have been changed a lot within the last..10 years or so..
Now German has become more flexible.. I remember a case in the German Pootle team with Torch..
he's older and he's used to using a comma before 'and'
and in many other cases as well
It's not needed anymore, it's optional..
31 May at 21:28 · Like

Marina Bakilin Therefore I usually tend to leave out commas if they are not needed for the logical understanding of the sentence so the sentences aren't plastered with commas and there's a better/more fluent readability.
31 May at 21:31 · Like · 1

Marina Bakilin Oh btw I have to add that we never learned this at school in our English courses. I've NEVER heard of any case in which there's a comma used before 'and', 'or' or such..
31 May at 21:44 · Like · 1

Gene Cox I had a college creative writing professor who was strict on punctuation rules!
31 May at 21:54 via mobile · Like

Meir Hurwitz I opened Google. I will give 2 examples. 1. From there is this rule: To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more.

My $10 million estate is to be split among my husband, daughter, son, and nephew.
Omitting the comma after son would indicate that the son and nephew would have to split one-third of the estate.
31 May at 21:57 · Like · 2

Gene Cox Thank you so much Meir! This is what I was trying to express, and you provided a much better example.
31 May at 22:01 via mobile · Like

Meir Hurwitz Here is another one:…/commaguide.htm Use a comma between words, phrases, or clauses that appear in a series of three or more:

"You get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected, and selected."

(Arlo Guthrie)
31 May at 22:02 · Like · 1

Ray Gman If anyone has more to add to this thread, please take ALL of this into the forum where it can be discussed with the rest of the active team. Facebook is not a good medium for guideline discussions unless you want the opinion of the rest of the planet.
1 June at 22:01 · Unlike · 4

Blakelee Vincent McCowan I was taught that it was not necessary to include a comma there, but your reasoning seems valid.
2 June at 00:47 via mobile · Like

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