How to Use a Comma When Listing Items


It is important to properly employ commas when separating items listed within a sentence. Using a comma correctly when listing items is essential for making your written piece grammatically correct. Improperly used, a misplaced comma can cause points to be deducted from your grade, in addition to disrupting the natural flow of the piece. The only rule you must remember is to place "and" in between the last two words in the list.

  • Place a comma after the first item in the list. The order of the list is a matter of preference, but should not matter in most cases.

  • Place a second comma after the second item in the sentence.

  • Place a comma after any items that follow the first item, excepting the last one. It is optional to place a comma between the last two items in the list.

  • Place an "and" between the next-to-last and last item. Placing "and" between the last two items in the list is not optional and should be done in every case. As an example, your list should look like this: "first, second, third, and fourth" or "first, second, third and fourth."

Tips & Warnings

  • Use this formatting when listing nouns, verbs, adjectives, verb phrases and clauses.
  • Not listing commas properly will result in your paper receiving a lower score.


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