In Serial Commas and Compulsive Behavior, serial comma (aka Harvard Comma and Oxford Comma) combatants duked it out over correct usage.
On my scoreboard, the serial comma won, hands down. But journalists, Brits, and Aussies don’t all agree with me.
A Bigger Problem: Parallel Structure
But a major underlying issue compounds the serial comma problem: parallel structure.
To be grammatically correct, both serial commas and parallel structure must be right in your writing.
Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax: How to Craft wickedly Effective Prose (1999), reminds us of the danger of not understanding parallel structure and appropriate punctuation:
Some of the most hilarious errors in English result from phrases that aren’t properly tracked. If you don’t know what you’re doing, phrases will deliver you straight to The Danger Zone.
Want to avoid errors with serial commas and parallel structure and keep June Casagrande’s nasty old grammar snobs from picking on your…