Grammar GuideCommaDo I need to use a comma with list items?

Do I need to use a comma with list items?

Do I need to use a comma with list items?

When we have a list of three or more items, we use a comma to split the items in the list. This comma is known as a listing comma, e.g. I like rice, beans, and plantains. Listing commas can usually be replaced by "and" or "or," e.g. I like rice and beans and plantains.

Listing commas can separate lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, dependent clauses, or even complete sentences. This can mean that you can have a comma before an "and" that is followed by a dependent clause if it is the last item in a list of dependent clauses. Some authors like to join sentences with listing commas, e.g. I came in, I saw the package, and I opened it.

When using listing commas, the comma before the final "and" or "or" is optional depending on if you are using Oxford commas or not. How to use an Oxford (or serial) comma.

Common Questions about Comma

Should an introductory phrase be followed by a comma?When should you use a comma before a coordinating conjunction?How do I add commas to a number for clarity?What is a comma splice and how do you fix it?Do I need a comma after a subordinate clause?Do I need a comma after a participle phrase?How should I use commas with 'not only... but also'?Should I use a comma before a subordinate conjunction?Do you need a comma in a compound predicate? When is a comma unnecessary?Why should you put comma after prepositional phrases?Do I need a comma when I omit a word for stylistic reasons?Do you need a comma after an adverbial infinitive phrase?Should I use a comma at the end of a quotation, before the closing quotation mark?Should I use a comma before an opening quotation mark?Should I use a comma before "which"?Should I use a comma before and after an appositive?Should I use a comma before "not"?How do I use commas with parenthetical elements?Should I use a comma between a city and a country/a city and a state?Should I use a comma before and after vocative?Do you need a comma to separate the day from the month, and the date from the year?Do you need a comma before or after "too"?When should I use a comma to separate numbers?Should I use a comma before or after “please” in a sentence?Is it grammatically correct to put a comma before "and"?Is it grammatically correct to put a comma before "then"?Should I use a comma after an introductory adverb like "apparently"?Should I use a comma after a time phrase such as "in the meantime"?How should I use a comma with a subordinate clause?Should you use a comma before "whereas" and "although"?Should you use a comma before "while"?Should you have a comma before "because"?Should I use a comma before "for"?Should I use a comma before "since"?Should I use a comma between two adjectives?Should I use a comma with a participle or gerund phrase?