Monday, January 9

Do or Don't: The Oxford Comma

At the risk of sounding lame, how many people out there use the Oxford comma when writing?  I know most of us haven't thought about parts of speech since middle school, so I'll give you a refresher.  The Oxford comma is the comma used right before a coordinating conjunction like and, or, or nor

It turns out people have very strong opinions about its use (myself included). 

Some publications like The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Economist require writers to omit the Oxford comma to save money on printing costs.   However, many encourage its use because it helps eliminate ambiguity when a list is formed.  For example:

That's why I use the Oxford comma and always will.  What side are you on?

P.S.  As if I needed proof that I am a loser, this Vampire Weekend song points out just how lame it is to care about the Oxford comma. 

Photo Credit: English Muse, SD Smith


  1. Seems the acorn doesn't fall too far from the old oak tree. We had this discussion at work last week and using the Oxford comma won out. I am so glad because I really had no intention of changing the way I do things.

  2. I just used your blog to teach a student the importance of this magical piece of punctuation. I appreciate your efforts!


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