the Oxford Comma

The Oxford Comma, it’s a serial…

A while back I paid homage to the Oxford, or serial, comma. The comma that comes between something and and and when the and is followed by something else in order to add clarity to a list.

For example. I like planes, trains, and automobiles.

That last comma. That’s it. Turns out it’s popular (see the comments on that post).

I’m posting now because I found this graphic – and I think it’s nice.

Nice like an Oxford comma.

Vampire Weekend also wrote a song about everybody’s favourite comma (with a slight language warning).

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.

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