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Silly poll about commas


Does your english curriculum teach to put a comma before the word and?  

  1. 1. Does your english curriculum teach to put a comma before the word and?

    • Yes we teach to put a comma before the word and
      146
    • No we do not teach to put a comma before the word and
      25
    • obligatory other, please explain
      21


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Ok. So I was doing english with my dd. It says to put a comma before the word 'and' in a series. Example: The cats, dogs, and birds ate.

 

I learned NOT to put a comma before the word ''and' in a series when I was in school. Example The cats, dogs and birds ate. What does your english teach? Please reply with what you learned in school (Not in the poll, I would like the poll strictly what your curriculum teaches!)

 

Has this changes since I was in school? Thanks

Edited by wy_kid_wrangler04
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The cats, dogs and birds ate, without a comma.

 

I was taught that way; I teach it that way... in Italian. Actually in English too, but with a small notion:

In English, there actually is something they call "a serial comma", a comma before a coordinating conjunction before the final item in a case of three or more items. And then you have people who argue for or against it, but it's more or less standard, yes.

 

I still refuse to use it, hence my response. :tongue_smilie:

Edited by Ester Maria
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Yes, we put the comma.

Dd #1 took an advanced grammar class in college. The prof. said it could go either way, but the current trend is to put the comma.

 

The example given in eldest dd's class:

 

A father leaves his estate to three children. The will is worded this way, " I leave my estate to be equally divided between Mary, Jack and Jill." Well, Mary believes she is entitled to 50%, and Jack and Jill are entitled to 50%. Jack and Jill believe the estate is to be divided equally three ways. The meaning is ambiguous. A judge sees it Mary's way, and Jack and Jill are now co-inheritors of 50% of the estate.

 

You may think it doesn't matter, but what if Jack is the son and Jill is his wife? Then obviously the estate was probably left to be divided two ways. The comma did divide Mary from "Jack and Jill". If Jill is one of the three children then the estate was probably to be divided three ways. BUT, what if Mary was the biological daughter, and Jack and Jill were the step children? Then the judge is scratching his head.

 

The thought is that omitting the comma groups those last two items together. There are many experts who disagree with the addition of this comma, but many programs are teaching its use now.

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I was taught that the "and" was in place of a comma....so we didn't put the comma before and.

 

But...I voted "yes" because it seems that now it is taught to put the comma before. I think that either way is ok.

 

I don't know why they changed the rule (if it even is considered a rule).

 

ETA: Just wanted to add that I prefer no comma.........the comma before the "and" just doesn't look right to me.

Edited by ~AprilMay~
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There are many experts who disagree with the addition of this comma, but many programs are teaching its use now.

I understands the reasons for clarity (as in the example you posted), but don't you find that, somehow, on an intuitive level, it's wrong to put a comma?

 

I've always felt it that way, even before coming across the concept of putting a comma in the first place. It's a sort of mistake that I'd never have done in Italian lessons, for example, because it was just so unnatural to put that comma, kwim?

 

In your example, wouldn't it be "Mary, and Jack and Jill"? The pair still needs to be precedented by the 'and' if they're considered a pair, right?

 

My reasoning is (I'm an expert for Italian, not English, but I think it can still be applied) that it's unnecessary and creates the effect of a later addition (when I put a comma before 'and' in writing, it's always meant as a later addition, or to create the effect of the later addition to the sentence).

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I understands the reasons for clarity (as in the example you posted), but don't you find that, somehow, on an intuitive level, it's wrong to put a comma?

 

 

 

It feels wrong to me NOT to put the comma in. But then again, I'm a big fan of clarity.

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I was taught to put the comma in as a child and the curriculum I'm using also teaches it that way.

 

I merrily put commas in until....I was hired at *mregtjht* (insert age--way too old--here!) to be a copy editor. I was shocked to learn that such use for a comma is OUT.

 

 

But I'm still teaching that it's IN!

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Ok. So I was doing english with my dd. It says to put a comma before the word 'and' in a series. Example: The cats, dogs, and birds ate.

 

I learned NOT to put a comma before the word ''and' in a series when I was in school. Example The cats, dogs and birds ate. What does your english teach? Please reply with what you learned in school (Not in the poll, I would like the poll strictly what your curriculum teaches!)

 

Has this changes since I was in school? Thanks

 

Yes, I teach a comma before "and" when used with more than 2 words in a series. This is how I was taught, this is how the various curricula we've used teaches, and it is how the college professors my dss have had prefer it.

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My mother got into an angry letter match over the Oxford comma with my 7th grade English teacher. My mother said yes and the teacher said no. It was quite a match up. No one won. Sometimes I do it and sometimes I don't. I only taught my first graders what a comma is pretty recently so I can't answer that one.

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I understands the reasons for clarity (as in the example you posted), but don't you find that, somehow, on an intuitive level, it's wrong to put a comma?

 

I've always felt it that way, even before coming across the concept of putting a comma in the first place. It's a sort of mistake that I'd never have done in Italian lessons, for example, because it was just so unnatural to put that comma, kwim?

 

In your example, wouldn't it be "Mary, and Jack and Jill"? The pair still needs to be precedented by the 'and' if they're considered a pair, right?

 

My reasoning is (I'm an expert for Italian, not English, but I think it can still be applied) that it's unnecessary and creates the effect of a later addition (when I put a comma before 'and' in writing, it's always meant as a later addition, or to create the effect of the later addition to the sentence).

In English, if Jack and Jill are somehow unified, then you would more likely see an antecedent before their coupling. "Mary and the twins, Jack and Jill, ate chips and salsa" . If they are separate parts of the list of 3, then yes, comma. "Mary, Jack, and Jill at chips and salsa." Your example is actually why I choose to teach the comma...to avoid coupling confusion.
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We learned that either was acceptable, depending on the items that were being set off with commas.

 

In your example, no, there would be no comma. If the items on the list were compound nouns and a comma would make it more understandable, then yes.

 

The parents of the graduates, the teachers with tenure, and the students themselves met to discuss the future of the college.

 

See?

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In English, if Jack and Jill are somehow unified, then you would more likely see an antecedent before their coupling. "Mary and the twins, Jack and Jill, ate chips and salsa" . If they are separate parts of the list of 3, then yes, comma. "Mary, Jack, and Jill at chips and salsa." Your example is actually why I choose to teach the comma...to avoid coupling confusion.

Thank you for the explanation. :)

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No. No comma after "Mary." It might be confusing, but it would correctly be "Mary and Jack and Jill."

I'd go with "Mary, Jack and Jill" if each one of them was to get a third, and with "Mary and Jack and Jill" if Mary was to get 50% and Jack and Jill 25% each.

 

So I guess it would be "Mary, Jack, and Jill" in your framework for each of them getting a third, that's why I thought "Mary, and Jack and Jill" would be for Mary getting 50% and Jack and Jill 25% each, because not putting a comma after Mary was reminding me of my scheme, but now I see that in this scheme it's actually not three items or more but two, so in the end it'd be like you say.

 

Okay that was confusing. :D But I hope I got it correctly. Thank you! :)

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I was taught to use the comma before and in a series when I was in school. However, I worked in the publishing industry for several years after I got out of school and the editors I worked with all agreed on no commas, so I had to break the habit. I don't use them anymore and didn't teach them to my kids.

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In jr high, I was taught that both ways were correct & the legal difference between them. From that, I gained a strong preference for the last comma.

 

In college, as an English major, we were taught MLA style, which uses the comma. Working on the newspaper, however, we used AP style, which omits the comma. I was told that it was a matter of saving ink, & I balked at the immorality of corrupting grammar for the sake of something as profane as money or ink. :lol:

 

(The following yr, I turned many papers in, printed in blue or green ink, due to low ink in my printer & low funds in my acct. The irony of that just struck me as really funny.)

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Rod and Staff English 3 Lesson 34 (I just taught this, can you tell) says to put a comma after every noun in a series except the last one.

 

I was taught that the comma before the conjunction was optional, but I always put it in for clarity.

 

 

Thats exactly what we did today to bring up the question lol :D. The example is James, Robert, and Kevin sang. I was wondering if that was the norm and when it had changed, or if other curricula taught it the way I learned it in school.

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I was taught to use the comma, and it grates on me to not see it. I will definitely teach it to my children. I didn't realize that it was considered legal not to use it, but it still grates on me, so I'll continue to use it. :lol: It's more clear to me if it's in there. :)

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It's more clear to me if it's in there. :)
:lol:

It may be more clear to you, but in the words of my 8-year-old son, "it is redundant to include the comma."

 

In my former life, I was a copy editor and we were always told to never, ever use the serial comma.

I was unsure how to approach it with my son, as most LA programs teach to use it but I hate it.

Thankfully, he decided - on his own - that it is redundant to use a comma before the word 'and.' :D

I have taught him that it is more important to be consistent - either use it every time or never use it.

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I'm not sure :lol:. In a series, I would not put the comma and will research this and make a decision.

 

HOWEVER, if the "and" is a coordinating conjunction, joining two independent clauses, it requires a comma as would other coordinating conjunctions. Perhaps that is what is generating the confusion?

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I was taught that both ways are acceptable. However, if it is a long list, it is better to place the comma before the "and" to avoid confusion.

 

The cats, dogs, and birds ate.

The cats, dogs and birds ate.

:iagree:MLA does not require a comma in a list. I teach my children to put in a comma only if it avoids confusion/ clarifies. I voted other.

Mandy

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I was taught that you could do it, but it wasn't required. I put the (optional) comma in. The curriculum we use has always said to put it in (so far, at least). I will teach the children to put it there.

 

My sister is an English-major-type who does copy editing & desktop publishing stuff for her livelyhood. I think I remember that she does not use the (optional) comma and probably marked up all my papers in high school that way. :tongue_smilie:

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I was first taught to put the comma in. When I was taught that I didn't need to, I still put the comma in. I will teach my children to put the comma in, even if the curriculum we choose teaches to leave it out.

 

The best example of why you should use the Oxford comma:

 

image can be found at the end of this blog post:

http://chasemarch.com/2011/07/karma-for-comma.html

 

(From newspaper clipping: "Among those interviewed were his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall.")

 

His ex-wives were Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall?! :lol:

Edited by silver
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