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Video Transcripts

APA Formatting & Style: Serial Comma

Last updated 4/27/2016


Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.

Audio: Guitar music.


Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. Background changes to another notebook on a table, with a person sitting behind it, and a bright blue box with the words: APA Formatting & Style: Serial (Oxford) Comma.

Slide changes to a mostly gray slide with a blue box in the center and a header that reads: Serial (Oxford) Comma, with three bullet points below:

  • She research, read, and wrote her paper.
  • I chose between a qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods design.
  • The Writing Center offers short answers via e-mail, paper reviews by appointment, and webinars throughout the month.


Audio: The serial comma, which is also known as the Oxford comma, and this is one of the things that is specific to APA so it's not a grammatical error to not have the serial comma. And you might say, “I was reading a specific article, and they didn’t have this.” Well, if you are reading a magazine article or newspaper article, you may not see the serial comma because it is something that is in APA but not necessarily all other writing or citation styles. Including the serial comma means that for every element that for you list, you’ll put a comma after it. So, you put a comma between all elements in a series or a list, including before and or or. So for example, “She researched, comma, read, comma, and wrote her paper.” Sometimes, you won’t see the comma before the and. That is not correct APA style. So in APA style, you always want to have a comma before the and or the or. And it doesn’t have to be single things; it can be a word or a phrase in a list. So you can see from that last example: The Writing Center offers short answers via e-mail, comma, paper reviews by appointment, comma, and webinars throughout the month. So that’s what the serial comma is.