How One Comma Changes The World

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Editors, Writers and Bloggers, which is correct in your opinion style 1 or style 2 (notice the comma after the egg):
STYLE 1: John went to the store to buy bacon, eggs and milk.
STYLE 2: John went to the store to buy bacon, eggs, and milk.

In Nigeria I was taught to use the first style. But after having my “How Laziness Saved My Life” Manuscript edited by Cathy Reed (awesome editor) she changed it all to style 2. I started doing a bit of investigation and found out that there is a huge controversy between the styles. What are you thoughts and which of the styles do you use?



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10 comments on “How One Comma Changes The World

      • Ogechukwu Eze on said:

        Style 2. I school in Nigeria too but for some reason always used style 2. Used to get irritated when I saw people use style 1 but thought it was an American thing..

      • SayYesToMoringa on said:

        I was taught to use the first style, just like you. I think that’s the correct way, but things are so relaxed now that practically anything goes

  1. Yours_Sincerely on said:

    They are different. Dunno, guess its the way the reader sees it. In a sentence after a comma, we assume the pause, or took a break while reading. In my opinion, I think in style 1, the writer is trying to tell the reader that john bought, bacon, then eggs and milk at once or at the same place. While in style 2, the writer is trying to tell the reader that john bought bacon, eggs, milk at different intervals on the same occasion. It is now left for the reader to interprete it the way it suits him. English is a complicated language. I used to think we as Nigerians, use british english. I guess the first is british and the second is American. Dunno, haven’t had time to check it out.

  2. Deby Ogunmoroti on said:

    I was taught to use style1. The English Language is steeped in ambiguity. Where can I get a copy of How Laziness saved my life? I live on the Mainland.

  3. Twinkleen on said:

    Number 2 is correct, u don’t use a comma before and cos its conjuctin two words to make a sentence, i discovered dis method while i was abt writing jamb for d 3rd time years back. I read it in A-Z in jamb in english. Either American or british english i don’t know. I had highest score in eng dat year in Jamb. Lolz

    • O'tega (il Cicero) on said:

      The oxford comma controversy has come to stay. If you do a lot of business writing where long sentences may be the order of the day, then the oxford comma comes in handy. the most important thing to note is consistency – whichever style is your preferred, use it consistently.

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