4.10.2007

AP Allows Serial Comma (Sometimes)

For most of the time, serial commas should not be used if your publication is using the The Associated Press Stylebook.

This is not the place I want to start an argument about the justification of using (or not using) serial commas. The AP Stylebook says:
IN A SERIES: Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: The flag is red, white and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick or Harry.
But then it says this:
Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.
Yep, it's right there in the punctuation section of the stylebook under comma. It's AP, in a muted way, saying it is OK to sometimes use the serial comma.

It just goes to show that you should read a sentence before doing search-and-destroy editing.

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