The English language can get tricky at times especially the grammar of the language. English grammar has a lot of rules but it also comes with exceptions, though rare but still there and while writing, a writer has to keep a lot in mind. From sentence structure to correctly punctuating the lines and paragraphs. There come times when writing we tend to skip some rules and structure due to our thoughts being the priority but after the writing is finished we get the draft to deal with that is editing and proofreading.
That’s when this article comes in to provide some help to your confused state of mind. So, in this article, we will see if Is it necessary to add Comma before and in a list? If the answer is yes or no or if it just depends. So without any delay let us get straight to the point!
Why we add a Comma before ‘and’ in a list?
We know that the punctuation mark (,) is used in a sentence to separate the items or in other words to fuse two independent clauses. The comma act as a slight break to the sentence which helps the readers to understand what is being said through the written text.
So a comma before the word ‘and’ in a list does the work of separating things and avoiding confusion. Putting a comma in the list or series of items is also known as Oxford Comma or Serial Comma.
Is it necessary to add Comma before and in a list?
Adding a comma before the word ‘and’ in a sentence that has more than two items which kind of makes it a list is necessary as it helps the readers to distinguish between the different items or qualities. Let us understand this with the help of a few examples.
- Janki is a very kind, smart, and active girl.
- It is compulsory for the student to bring their Identity card, library card, assignment file, and parking ticket tomorrow.
- I like to dance, swim, and travel.
- Under the Chirtmass tree there were gifts, letters, fairy lights, and cake.
Now, the above examples contain a list of words that needs to be separated which the Oxford comma before and does the work. But there is no concrete rule that you need to follow. For example – in the sentence ‘Janki is a very kind, smart, and active girl‘ – if you want you can exclude the comma if you want and you can write it like – ‘Janki is a very kind, smart, and active girl‘ and it will be still correct.
But look at the second sentence in the list of examples that is ‘It is compulsory for the student to bring their Identity card, library card, assignment file, and parking ticket tomorrow‘ – here the Oxford or Serial comma helps the reader to understand the documents separately that the students are supposed to bring the next day without any confusion. If by chance the sentence is written like this – ‘It is compulsory for the student to bring their Identity card, library card, assignment file and parking ticket tomorrow‘ – it might have created a little confusion for the readers regarding the last two items. Whether they are supposed to bring the last items together or separately like the other documents.
Of course, it is not necessary to put the comma before the word and if your sentence is clear and makes sense. There is no compulsory punctuation rule for this particular concept.
You don’t add a comma when you are mentioning two things. Take a sentence – Atif loves to drive and travel to different places. Such sentences don’t need a comma. Also, make sure you don’t confuse the comma rule in the case of Independent and dependent clauses.
There are different types of writing that require a certain kind of writing style and pattern that people follow. For example, if you are looking at a legal document and a comma in it do hold a lot of importance whereas if you are looking at a news reporter report writing you might find that there is not much importance given to Oxford or Serial comma.
Hope you find this article helpful, thank you for visiting the page!