Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

From Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, Chapter 2, Lesson 2:

In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last

Thus write,

  • red, white, and blue
  • honest, energetic, but headstrong
  • He opened the letter, read it and made a note of its contents.

My question is: Why isn't there a comma after read it in the third example?

share|improve this question
2  
Duplicate (vote to close) - english.stackexchange.com/questions/412 –  Adam Mosheh May 16 '12 at 15:53
2  
Ask yourself what a comma would add. –  Barrie England May 16 '12 at 15:53
4  
I don't think this is a duplicate at all. I think the question is, "given that the style guide itself dictates there should be a serial comma, why does the third example not include the serial comma?" –  D. Patrick May 16 '12 at 16:01
3  
We all know the best place for Strunk and White anyway. –  Barrie England May 16 '12 at 16:16
3  
@Caffeine: I'm not sure I can give a polite answer to that. Perhaps you should read this: chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497. –  Barrie England May 16 '12 at 20:23

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I believe there is a comma after "read it" in the third example in Strunk and White's Elements of Style. I'm looking for a version of the book that does not include the serial comma in that example but haven't found one.

Revision: I found one. It was a PDF copy of an older edition so I couldn't see the publication date. It appears that there was a typo in some versions where the serial comma was left out. Later prints include the serial comma per the style guide's recommendation.

Sorry, another revision. I forgot to give a link to a current copy: http://www.feedbooks.com/book/3697/the-elements-of-style

share|improve this answer
    
cs.vu.nl/~jms/doc/elos.pdf –  Saad Rehman Shah May 16 '12 at 16:01
1  
It's my bad if I have a version that's misprinted. I was just following this book because it's more beautifully typeset than the other version available. –  Saad Rehman Shah May 16 '12 at 16:01
    
Can you refer me to a correct version of it? That I can follow too? A pdf. –  Saad Rehman Shah May 16 '12 at 16:03
    
Yeah. I just edited my answer to include a more recent copy. It's available as epub or pdf and you can get it on your kindle if you have one. Also, it's free. –  D. Patrick May 16 '12 at 16:04
    
+1 Please include file type and file size B with the hyperlink.Thanks so much. –  Kris May 16 '12 at 17:41

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.