More commas already 

Rosie Right

A reader has written:

"I really enjoyed the Rosie Right 'comma' article. I deal with the 'comma' issues all the time in scripts. Some people use the comma before 'and' in a sentence. For example: 'long, hot, and dusty roads.' I was taught you don't need the comma before 'and.' What do you think?"

As you can tell from previous columns, commas are a constant concern for Rosie. In the case cited by our reader here, Style follows the AP's rule, which usually makes the decision easy. According to this rule, our reader is correct.

The AP says: "In a Series: Use commas to separate elements in a series, but do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series: 'The flag is red, white and blue.'"

Rosie remembers this by understanding that a comma is put after one adjective and before another if the word and could be logically present. There is an and before the last adjective, hence no comma.

Of course there are, as usual, complexities: Put in commas when there is an and in an integral part of the series or if your sentence consists of a complex series of phrases.

Talk the Talk:

E-day "Just for once the 'e' doesn't stand for electronic. E-day is Euro Day: January 1, 2002, when the twelve countries of the European Union…change over to the Euro" - Source: World Wide Words Web Site

Hyperflier — "A person who travels very frequently, especially for business. 'Hyperfliers can be identified by pallid complexion, red, watery eyes and a crease in their stomach from having a laptop crushed into their body by the reclining seat in front of them' (David Olive, 'Modern Business Usage,' The National Post)" — Source: World Wide Words

tri-ovenable (adjective) — "Of or relating to a product or material that can withstand the heat generated by conventional, microwave, or toaster ovens." Source: The Word Spy

Undercover marketing — "Marketing in which actors promote a product in a real-world setting while posing as regular people." Similar words: ad creep, guerrilla marketing. Source: The Word Spy

Weather Tourist — "An aficionado of violent storms who plans vacations to areas often afflicted by them, in the hope of experiencing a storm firsthand." Source: Word Watch by Anne H. Soukhanov in the Atlantic Monthly.

Perhaps the next invention after this summer will be shark tourist.

Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825, ext. 322), letter (1707 Summit Ave., Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230), or e-mail repps@styleweekly.com.


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