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Re: line adjustment at the end of a sentence

From: PJ Weisberg
Subject: Re: line adjustment at the end of a sentence
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2012 11:13:31 -0700

On Sunday, October 14, 2012, Joe Fineman <> wrote:
> (David Combs) writes:
>> Next subject:
>> Is it:
>>    a, b and c
> Most people's natural punctuation; observed religiously in
> journalism.

They taught this to me in elementary school, and it always seemed like an unusual special case to me.  For the last item in the list you leave off the comma, but when you read it aloud you still pause where the comma would be.

>> or
>>   a, b, and c  ?
> A shibboleth.  Advised by all the tonier stylebooks, and required by
> the tonier publishers, on both sides of the Atlantic.  As a
> copyeditor, I have inserted many thousands of such commas.
> The serial comma (Harvard comma, Oxford comma) has been controversial
> for at least a century.  The name "Harvard comma" is usual among
> journalists & probably harks back to the time when "Harvard" in such
> circles connoted "rich intellectual snob".


Gehm's Corollary to Clark's Law: Any technology distinguishable from
magic is insufficiently advanced.

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