I toil on with Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson. I have to say I am actually learning something from this book that is immediately useful. As I read my novel to my hubby, out loud, I am catching more and more of my grammatical errors before my husband can say a word. It’s awesome!
On to the Serial Comma….
-Comma’s can separate items or actions written in a series.
-Lists consist of three or more items or actions.
-Two items or actions are a pair and do not require commas.
-A comma separating the last item in a series may be omitted if and or or are used instead. It is a style issue.
As an aside parallelism is about making things match. If I write a list, each verb should be in the same tense. (This one kicks my butt every time.)
Serial commas help combine sentences and expand ideas by using sensory detail, specific nouns, or vivid verbs. It allows you to show readers, rather than tell.
Good Examples of serial commas from Anderson.
His room smelled of cooked grease, Lysol, and age. -Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Her cleats, shin pads, and sweats were in her backpack, slung over her shoulder and heavy with homework. -Peter Abrahams, Down the Rabbit Hole
Then I heard a scrape, a thud, and a yelp. -Byars, Duffy, and Meyers, The SOS File
Tune in tomorrow for the exercises.