General Writing and Grammar Help/subject wording


Hi Martha Beth,

I have completed all of the English requirements for college, as far as general requirements go.

I had an Email sent to me with subject line that my husband I disagree with each other on.

Subject line as follows:

Free Waffle, Mac & Cheese and Hugo Boss Perfume | Over 80% Off Michael Kors | Up to 69%

I laughed at it thinking there was a Mac & Cheese Perfume. He said no, it's Free Waffle, Mac & Cheese and then Hugo Boss Perfume. To me it seems as if it should say: Free Waffle, Mac & Cheese and Hugo Boss. To seperate these non related items.

What is correct?

Sorry for delay.  AllExperts did not send me an email that your letter was here.


It seems to me that there are 3 things:
mac & cheese
Hugo Boss perfume

The waffle may be the only free thing, or all of them may be free.  As you say, the sentence is unclear.


Your question concerns the rules for lists of things (3 or more).  You can NEVER go wrong with the following rule:

Put a comma after everything in the list except, of course, the last one.  Example:

At our grand opening, you'll receive a free waffle, free mac & cheese, and a free Ferrari.


Sometimes, you'll see the sentence written with out the last comma:

At our grand opening, you'll receive a free waffle, free mac & cheese and a free Ferrari.

This is considered correct, but it's not as clear as using the comma after =mac & cheese=.  You can never go wrong putting in all the commas.  Then you'll never be questioned about what you mean, AND when you are writing at the college level (and beyond), you will never have to worry that you are using "slang" grammar.

And example of slang grammar:

You'll never be a singer like me.

This should be:

You'll never be a singer as I am a singer.

Admittedly, this sounds clumsy.  These are better:

You'll never be as good at singing as I am.
I'll always be a better singer.

Example of just plain wrong (!) grammar:
Me and him went to the movies.
Myself and him went to the movies.

These both should be:
He and I went to the movies.


=And= can be replaced with =or= in your example.

At our grand opening, you'll receive a free waffle, free mac & cheese, or a free Ferrari.


I'd also like to point out that you have misspelled =separate=.

Also =to separate...items" is not a stand-alone sentence. I know what you mean, but you will lose points at college if you have something like this in your work.  

I also would identify what sort of Hugo Boss thing you'll receive!  Not the man himself!  Perhaps this was a typo and you left out a word.

Instead: waffle, mac & cheese, and Hugo Boss perfume. It seems to me that I should separate these non related items.


Best of luck!  I know you'll do well!  And congratulations on your ambition!

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Martha Beth Lewis


I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.


I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.

Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.

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