APA Formatting & Style: Serial Comma
Last updated 5/6/2020
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- She researched, read, and wrote her paper.
- I chose between a qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods design.
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Audio: You may already be familiar with this punctuation rule APA asks writers to use, what’s called a “serial comma,” or sometimes called the “Oxford comma.” The serial comma is where we add a comma before the conjunction in a list of three or more items. This means that before “and” or “or”, we add a comma.
This can best be illustrated through our examples: She researched, read, and wrote her paper. You can see that we have a comma after each item in the list, including before “and.”
In our second example, we do the same, with a comma after each item and before “and.” We do the same in our third example as well, even though this is a longer and more complex list.
Serial commas can take some practice to get used to adding, but our recommendation is to start practicing with serial commas in all of the writing that you do. You can use serial commas in the writing you do at work or emails you send, and the more you practice using it, the more it will become second nature.
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