From John. F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address
because I JUST did this problem, too.
A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
The following is from http://breakthesky.net/2010/07/23/the-oxford-or-serial-comma/.
Stephen: Can I take you to task for something, for a second?
Stephen: In one of your songs, you have the lyrics: Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
Stephen: I’m here to tell you, I do. Shall we explain what an Oxford comma is to the people?
Ezra: Oh. It’s always a little tough to explain… an Oxford comma would be a comma that you’d put before the and or the or, at the end of a list.
Stephen: Red, white, and blue.
Stephen: I mean, red comma white comma and blue.
Ezra: Do you really need the comma?
Stephen: Yes, you do need the comma.
Ezra: Why do you need the comma?
Stephen: Because otherwise it’s: red, white and blue. Our flag is not red, white and blue. That’s red and baby blue!
Ezra: There are situations where it’s necessary.
Stephen: All situations. All of them except it’s, like, a law firm. That’s every other— No, listen, have you heard of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style?
Stephen: Heard of that? I refer you to… (opens book) page fucking two: In a series of three or more terms with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term. (snaps book shut in Ezra’s face)
Ezra: Yeah, but I mean -
Stephen: Does that sting? That’s E.B. White, you heard of him?
Ezra: Respect to Strunk and White, but it’s just protocol. It’s not— there’s no real reason.
Stephen: Yeah, it’s language. Why don’t you just take all punctuation out, be like the Romans?
Ezra: Sometimes we do.
Ezra: I mean, we’re a band. Y’know? (shrugs)
Stephen: I weep for our nation. But, I do enjoy your music. Will you stick around and do one of your songs that is properly punctuated?
Ezra: We’ll see.
Stephen: All right, we’ll be right back with a performance from Vampire comma Weekend!
Okay, so you must be thinking, “why such a fuss about a punctuation mark from a high-ranking institution in Britain?” Well, let me explain.
When you have a list of items, say a list of countries in an alliance, commas are generally required after each item. For example:
The Allies in World War I included Britain, France, Russia, and Italy.
For a list with only three items, however, many prefer to leave out the last comma. So,
The Three Emperor’s League, established by Bismarck, brought together Germany, Russia and Austria.
The comma that is left out of the sentence (that is, the comma after “Russia”) is called an Oxford Comma. And it is mandatory for clear understanding of the author’s intent. Why? See the link above.
You bet there is!