I've been doing a lot of transcription lately and can't find the answer to this question to save my life. I'm sure the problem is in the way I'm asking the question.

An example of this would be, "I ran and ran and ran" or "We skated and biked and laughed." I am relatively certain that if the conjunctions are separated by actual sentences, i.e. "We skated, and we biked, and we laughed," that a comma should indeed be used. However, my editor adds commas to the former examples, and I can't help thinking she's incorrect.

  • Both types of examples seem like odd places to use commas to me (unless you're trying to make clear that there should be pauses).
    – Miztli
    Apr 25, 2017 at 18:23
  • Bear in mind that transcription does not deal with written text; it is all speech. Therefore, you have to work out how to use punctuation in it. Also, there are loads of ellipses and [sics] to be put in. The words [truncated] and [cut off] are also useful. Is your editor listening to the tape?? That is what dictates punctuation. How the speaker intended it, not what some editor believes it should be.
    – Lambie
    Apr 25, 2017 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


Absent a prescriptive rule, I would follow the lead of influential writers, like David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest (page 4):

chat together about your application and potential recruitment and matriculation and scholarship.

Or the classic:

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

Furthermore, since you wouldn't use a comma in There were lions and tigers, it would seem like an odd exception to use them in There were lions, and tigers, and bears.

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