Who would have thought a single comma—or lack thereof—would make such a difference?:
Britain’s Sky News posted this bulletin about the Nelson Mandela memorial service at 6:36 p.m. London time Tuesday: “Top stories: World leaders at Mandela tribute, Obama-Castro handshake and same-sex marriage date set.”
The British have a habit of eliminating the final comma in any list of elements separated by commas, the one right before the “and.” I have never liked this usage, which seems precious, pedantic, and needlessly confusing. Why should I write that previous sentence “precious, pedantic and needlessly confusing”? I’m generous (dare I say “liberal”?) with my commas—the more the merrier!