Almost as much as the use of the word “I” when the word “me” should be used, the grammatical mistake of omitting the comma before the conjunction in a series bothers me. I have to admit that I make my own share of grammatical errors, but there are a few that stand out and really bug me.
Another less commonly broken rule is the use of the word “myself” where the word “I” or the word “me” should be used. Truth be told, it does slightly amuse me to hear people misuse these words in attempt to be grammatically correct while failing miserably!
According to the Gregg Reference Manual, a manual of style, grammar, usage, and formatting (notice the use of the comma before the word “and”), a comma is to be used before the conjunction when expressing a series in a sentence. Over the years, the repetitive omission of this comma before the conjunction in a series has come to be accepted as correct. I believe this was simply out of sheer exasperation over trying to argue the point. If a child begs and whines enough, just give in to make them stop. Where’s the integrity in that logic?
Some will argue that if the last two words go together, such as “fun and friendly”, that you would not use a comma before the “and”. The example in question is: “…fast, fun, and friendly.” If, in fact, “fun and friendly” was considered a phrase in this case, then the correct way to write it would be, “…fast and fun and friendly.” It’s true! That looks wrong, but it is acceptable. Personally, I don’t believe “fun and friendly” was meant to be a phrase in this case (something Target uses I think), but that’s a whole other subject!
Also a whole other subject is where to place the punctuation after the quotation mark. If quoting a sentence, the period goes inside the quotation mark. If quoting a word or phrase someone said, the punctuation goes outside of the quotation mark. Again, this is off my original topic, so I’ll leave it at that.