If I write 2-3 examples:

maggi, soup, bread


maggi ,soup, bread.

Should commas be placed after the word or before the next word?


Comma comes right after the word. A space follows the comma and then the next word begins. So, it's maggi, soup, bread.

For further reading, this Oxford Dictionaries article on the usage of comma would be helpful.

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A comma is placed immediately after each word in a list. The proper order is:


So the list you used as an example would be:

maggi, soup, bread

If you need to add a conjunction to the list, you have two options. The first option is to include a comma after every word in the list:

I need to buy maggi, soup, and bread.

Note that the spacing is still word-comma-space.

The second option is to leave off the comma before the conjunction:

I need to buy maggi, soup and bread.

Either is correct.

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This is called the 'Oxford comma'

Note the difference between

I need to buy maggi, soup and bread

Things you will buy:

  • maggi
  • soup and bread

But is soup and bread two things, or just one nasty mush in a tin?

Or with an Oxford comma:

I need to buy maggi, soup, and bread

Things you will buy

  • maggi
  • soup
  • bread

In some sentences you don't need to us this, eg

The boys at the party were Tom, Harry and Pete

Harry and Pete are clearly two different people, so the comma is unnecessary,

Using the above, however, consider the difference between the following

At the party were the two strippers, Harry and Pete


At the party were the two strippers, Harry, and Pete.

The second sentence is clearly 4 people: Harry, Pete and two strippers

The first sentence could be 4 people, or could just be two: Harry and Pete, who are strippers.

The Oxford comma should be used to avoid potential confusion

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  • 1
    This does not answer the actual question. – user6951 Oct 23 '14 at 17:44
  • Yes it does, although admittedly I misunderstood slightly and answered more question than is required :p good point – Jon Story Oct 23 '14 at 18:41

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