Happy Canada Day, comma, fellow writer.)
Use commas to separate items in a series
We know this rule from childhood. But good practice is to put a comma after the next to last in the series as well:
—- At the gas station, I filled up my tank, paid $106.29, went into the convenience store, and bought a few things. When I left the store, I had a Twinkie, a donut, a candy bar, and ten lottery tickets.
Note that this terrific writer put a comma after the second last in the series – after ‘store’ in the first sentence and after ‘candy bar’ in the second sentence. But why, dear reader, in the first sentence did he put a comma after ‘gas station?’ And in the second sentence after ‘left the store?’ (This is a mini-test.)
(Can you forgive me, Sister Angela-Marie? You slapped my hand with your yardstick in grade seven when I put a comma after the second last in a series. I remember the sentence:
There are seven deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. I put a comma after envy. That’s good practice today)
(actually there are eight deadly sins, the last being –disobeying Sister)