An ode to the Oxford Comma

I love the Oxford Comma. The comma that comes between and, and the word after and, or the comma before that or.

I think it improves clarity. And when I’m proof reading a non-Oxford user’s text I constantly have to resist the urge to plug them in.

The Oxford Dictionary’s entry on the Oxford Comma (linked above) says:

“It’s known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press. Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words…”

I actually think it improves clarity in all circumstances. Not just when you’re writing a sentence about a list of meal options. Like Pizza, fish and chips, and McDonalds. But before all final ands. It just looks nicer.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the pastor of City South Presbyterian Church, a church in Brisbane, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus. If you'd like to support his writing financially you can do that by giving to his church.

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