I am editing someone's work and am not sure how to punctuate the following sentence. The list uses the word "or" multiple times for drama.

Option 1: They wanted money or a watch or a camera or some form of payment.

Option 2: They wanted money, or a watch, or a camera, or some form of payment.

Which is correct?

2 Answers 2


Punctuation is a style issue as opposed to a grammar issue. As such, there will be some variance based on style guide. I use The Chicago Manual of Style, but there are other good ones.

On your particular issue, there are no commas--Option 1: They wanted money or a watch or a camera or some other form of payment.

However, if you choose serial usage, then commas would be used with debate (in America) regarding the Oxford comma: They wanted money, a watch, a camera, or some other form of payment. [The Oxford comma precedes or in this case.]


It seems to be a topic under a lot of debate. Referred to as a serial comma, there are arguments for and against using commas in this fashion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma)

Personally, I would use commas simply so I (or a potential reader) knows to pause for a breath when they come across it.

This is another good question/answer explaining this situation: Should I use a comma before "and" or "or"?

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