Q. I totally agree with Chicago’s use of the serial comma. However, I am creating a style guide for a company that does not use the serial comma. For the sake of consistency, I am considering stating in the guide that the serial comma is not to be used at all (yikes!). My question is: Is it better to be consistent (and not use the serial comma at all) OR to add in the serial comma ONLY when it is necessary to prevent ambiguity? I wish that I could just DEMAND the use of the serial comma at all times, but alas, I am just a lowly intern. Thanks a lot for your help!
A. Well, if you don’t allow it at all, you will at times be stuck with situations like the following hypothetical dedication page that our managing editor likes to cite: “With gratitude to my parents, Mother Teresa and the pope.” (Maybe that example will help you change your company’s policy.)