Commas, Part Two

Here are some other ways to use commas, given to us by those masters of the English language, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

“Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause.”


The temperatures can drop suddenly, but fall is still my favorite time of year.

“Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.”


Fall beverages, such as pumpkin spice lattes, hot apple cider and orange spiced tea, add to the coziness of the season.

Here is the one and only ambiguous comma rule.

When composing a list of things, placing a comma after the last item in the list is a matter of personal preference. Use it or omit. It is your choice. Strunk and White say to omit it, but other well-respected grammar sites tell otherwise.


I like the autumnal glow on the trees, pumpkin pie, the first sweaters of the season and the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet.

Snickers, Laffy Taffy, Air Heads, and Kit Kats are great choices for trick-or-treat candy.

Both are acceptable.

Trivia Question:

What did E.B. White write?

Enter your guesses by posting a comment, and I will announce who submitted the correct answer on Wednesday.


Mary McDonald said…
Charlotte's Web. :-)

Thanks for the comma lesson.
Congrats, Mary.

Everyone else, there is one more really famous work of E.B. White's. Do you know what it is?
R. Reed said…
I was going to say "The Once and Future King," but I had the wrong White. I found the correct answer, but since I had to Google I will recuse myself.
PhilC said…
Wasn't it, Elements of Style? Please excuse me if I didn't get it exactly right. I thought Googling would be cheating.

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