Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

The comma – part 3

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sausage, kiełbasa
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Use commas to separate items in a list. For example:

I had egg, beans, sausages, mushrooms and toast for breakfast.

Note that you do not need a comma before ‘and’ in sentences like this. Here are some more examples:

We went to Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

I need warm clothes, a map, a packed lunch and strong shoes.

I am going to buy books, wrapping paper, a pen, a newspaper and milk.

The comma is not suitable for more complex lists: you will need the semicolon.

Oxford/serial comma: see comments thread here

See how commas should be used before certain words and phrases

Find out how commas ensure clarity

User-friendly guides to punctuation


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