Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grammar Wars: The Oxford Comma

One of the best ways to spark a heated argument between writers is to bring up the Oxford comma.  For example, some writers might write: "Lions, tigers and bears".  Others will write: "Lions, tigers, and bears".  The difference is that second comma, after tigers.  It's called the Oxford comma.

I always use the Oxford comma.  It just sounds weird, to me, without it.  It drives me nuts when books don't use it. 

That being said, neither way is wrong.  Either one is still correct.  Using the Oxford comma sounds more like actual speaking, while not using it is more traditional.  The Oxford comma is more common in the US, while less people use it in Britain. 

Whatever you decide, stick with it.  If you use the Oxford comma, you must use it in every single list in your book.  Same if you don't use it.  You can't switch back and forth.  You need to remain consistent with your writing.

So, what's your opinon?  Love the comma, or hate it?

Brought to you by your residant Grammar Nazi.
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11 comments:

  1. Oxford commas make the world a brighter place. :D

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  2. We don't use it at all in Britain. I used it by accident in an exam and lost two marks.

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  3. I CAN'T STAND WHEN PEOPLE DON'T USE THE DARN COMMA!

    Sorry, sorry, I had to yell that. Haha! It drives me crazzzyyyy. I have to have it.

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  4. I always use the Oxford comma because that's how I was taught to use it. Not using it would be just too weird for me too.

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  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1xk07o4g

    Haha, as soon as I saw this in my feed, I thought of that song. But I quite agree. My teachers always said, "It's okay if you omit that comma." But I disagree!

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  6. I never realised so many people used it. :/

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  7. Well I hate the oxford comma. It makes no sense to me.

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  8. Actually, dropping the Oxford comma is only condoned in the "Associated Press Style Guide", which is specifically for journalists. It is a way for them to save valuable newsprint space. All the other leading, official guides tell you to use the Oxford, or serial, comma. So, if you're a journalist, go right ahead and drop it. However, the last I checked, the majority of writers are, in fact, not journalists. :)

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    Replies
    1. I should say, "All the other leading, official American English guides...."

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  10. "I had lunch with my cousins, Tina and Jake."

    "I had lunch with my cousins, Tina, and Jake."

    This is why the Oxford Comma is valuable. The first example states that the person had lunch with their two cousins who are named Tina and Jake. The second example depicts the person having lunch with their cousins AND Tina AND Jake.

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