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Stop! Grammar Time!

From today’s edition of the Spokesman-Review:

You’ll catch Drew Marquis on Saturday mornings at the Hood River farmers market patiently slicing brisket as a line snakes beyond his table. The Texas-style barbecue menu of Grasslands Barbecue—which also includes smoked turkey breast, sausages oozing with cheese and pulled pork—has been wowing locals since Marquis and his wife, Nicki, moved to the Columbia River Gorge area in February.

Now, a civilized style guide—like, say, Chicago, Garner’s, or Strunk & White—would call for the serial comma: “which also includes smoked turkey breast, sausages oozing with cheese, and pulled pork.” But because AP style rejects common sense, readers are led to believe that Drew Marquis, through some sort of culinary dark arts, has managed to create sausages oozing with both cheese and pulled pork.

That would indeed be amazing. And if it were true, I’d be on my way right now. But something tells me it’s not.

This, folks, is why I insist on the serial comma. There’s simply no reason not to use it. With it you have clarity; without it, confusion and—in this case, anyway—cruelly dashed hopes.



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