My, how the comma vexes us.
Otherwise reasonable people wage bitter Twitter squabbles about whether to use a comma before the final and in a series, arguing as if it actually mattered. It doesn’t.
I bought milk, eggs and cheese. I bought milk, eggs, and cheese. See?
Using or omitting the serial comma isn’t a question of right or wrong, moral or immoral, just or unjust. It’s just style–the set of conventions a publication or organization uses to enhance clarity and consistency in writing.
I was a newspaper reporter and editor for almost 30 years before I came to work for the University of Mary Washington. Newspapers generally follow AP style, which omits the serial comma.
My new employer prefers to use the serial comma. That is contrary to my habit, so of course I find it a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to reread my work three or four times before it hits me that I’ve left one out. I’m getting used to it, though, and it is no big deal.
Follow the style of the organization or publication you’re writing for. If you’re writing for yourself, use the serial comma if you like it, don’t use it if you don’t, and try to be consistent.
If you decide later to publish your work and some editor changes your comma style, take a deep breath and just let it go. The world will still turn.