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The Daily Post

I’ve avoided it so far, since it’s something of a holy war, but I thought I’d stir the grammatical pot a little this week and take a stance on the Oxford comma. I worked as a copy editor at a newspaper for a year long ago, and the Associated Press style guide dictated that we omit the comma before the final item in a series (presumably because it saved a smidgin of column width on the page). An example will help clarify:

John went to the store to buy bacon, eggs and milk.

John went to the store to buy bacon, eggs, and milk.

The first sentences omits the final comma, while the second includes it. In a sentence like this, it’s hard to make a very strong case that one comma style is better than the other. But what if we want to make a more complex sentence?

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