If my upbringing and education is considered common, the United States beats the oxford comma out of kids at a young age to the point where nobody even uses commas where they are needed by the time they get into high school. My mother and all of my teachers up until high school villified the use of a comma between the second to last listed item and the "and."
They even used a horror story in their purging of proper punctuation: The panda's diet:
>The panda eats shoots and leaves.
Now here, we see a sentence without a comma. It tells us that a panda eats bamboo shoots and leaves.
>The panda eats, shoots and leaves.
WHOA NOW! LOOK AT WHAT ONE COMMA CAN DO, FUCKING EVERYTHING UP LIKE A LITTLE FUCKING COMMUNIST SPY! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU USE A COMMA, KIDS!
However, she failed to tell us something extraordinary: We will look like blind fucking idiots by the time we write our college essays:
>I am a very interesting person who likes sports math and science.
No comma, you look like an idiot.
>I am a very interesting person who likes sports, math and science.
In some mystical schools there really is "Math team," which competitively solves problems like a sport. However, math nor science are sports.
>I am a very interesting person who likes sports, math, and science.
Three distinct interests. A nice, well rounded individual who is aware of the proper usage of a comma in the English the rest of the fucking anglosphere speaks. Let this fucker into uni, not some idiot kids who can't use punctuation and barely spell their own surnames.
Commas are used to separate items in a sentence. Commas go where you pause for clarity in speech. Everyone should write the same way they speak, it's only common sense. Therefore, usage of commas where speech is paused is only logical. Otherwise, your sentence will not work.
Literally, I proofread my fair share of peer papers, and 90% of the people I proofread, even high honours students, would write the above paragraph like this:
>Commas are used to separate items in sentences. Commas go where you pause for clarity in speech. Everyone should write the same way they speak it's only common sense. Therefore usage of commas where speech is paused is only logical. Otherwise your sentence will not work.
There's only a base issue in one of those sentences, so they are lulled into disuse of the comma like a Swiss man never uses ß. However, it becomes evident that a person looks like they are illiterate when they come to an impasse such as pic related.
Edit: I, as well, have been a serial comma user since I started using them. I also write in, and speak, international English. No idea where either of these came from as nobody else I have ever known speaks or writes like I do.
Post edited on 6th Oct 2011, 6:47pm