"There are people who embrace the Oxford comma, and people who don't, and I'll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken." - Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Oxford Comma. Love it? Hate it? Or, maybe you're asking 'what in the name of Aldo Manuzio is the Oxford Comma?"
The Oxford comma has been attributed to Horace Hart, who was a printer and controller of the Oxford University Press in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. He wrote "Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers" as a style guide for the employees working at the press.
In English language punctuation, an Oxford Comma, also known as a Serial Comma or a Series Comma, is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms.
My personal favorite examples of the Oxford Comma in use: "We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin."
Without the Oxford Comma, the above sentence reads as follows: "We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin."
In this instance, it suggests that the strippers invited were JFK and Stalin, where as in the first example, they are listed as three separate items, suggesting that they are different individuals.
While the Oxford Comma can clear up some ambiguities such as this, it isn't necessarily... necessary in every sentence where lists like this may come up.
Usage also differs somewhat between regional varieties of English. My understanding is that British English does not make use of this comma. However, it is common and even mandatory in American English, where a majority of American style guides mandate use of the Oxford Comma, such as APA style, the Chicago Manual of Style, and the MLA Style.
So, what are your thoughts on the Oxford Comma? Are you for it, or against it? And why or why not?
Journalists usually remove the final comma simply because it serves no purpose if the word "and" is present. A final comma and "and" are redundant.
AP style, meaning Associated Press journalism style, emphasizes concise writing for fast reading and maximizing the use of existing print space.
I think that's much more logical than APA style and others that require the comma. Likewise, I don't see why we have to use the American Psychological Association (APA) style here on HP. The majority of articles here are journalistic for a general audience rather than scientific for social scientists.
You are absolutely correct. (I bet you thought you'd never see me write that to you.)
I would add that many times grammar programs will have point out places where an Oxford comma should be placed.
Here is an interesting article from the Columbia Journalism Review. The use of an Oxford comma continues to be a hot topic of debate. I find that interesting.
I would add that this isn't meant to be specific to HubPages, but writing in general. Of course, you make a good point that the type of writing would make a difference, and I agree with you there. Creative Writing and Journalist Writing are very different kinds of writing styles, and naturally the 'rules' may be different to each.
I prefer the Oxford comma style. Not only for the reason you illustrated, but because I think it also helps pace the reader's comprehension of the intended meaning of the series involved with it.
by Mikal Smith 8 years ago
In my opinion the oxford comma is repetitive, distracting and unnecessary.With a slight concession, I hate to admit it but sometimes you just need it. I am interested to hear your take on it. I would love it if you posted in a similar manner, with or without the oxford comma, depending on your...
by Liz Elias 2 years ago
Please make up your minds!!I've had several hubs edited by the pro bot (or human-bot) now, and I do wish they'd make up their minds!Some of the hubs have had the Oxford comma removed; others have had it added!!How are we supposed to know which way to go with this, if HP itself is so indecisive??
by Susan Hambidge 2 years ago
Bit by bit the 'editing' is changing my words .... I know it is 'for the good of the whole' but I am starting to feel a bit put off by it all.Some of my English grammar is going too, or my English-isms and I find that sad.I have now had my bio put like this 'Susan enjoys travel, art, writing, and...
by Elsie Hagley 4 years ago
I asked a questionWhich is correct. "women that made history" or "women who made history" rebekahELLE answered " If you are exclusively using the APA style, you would use 'who' when referring to people". I'm a bit slow or behind in my English and would like to...
by Poppy 11 months ago
I currently have 73 articles on LevelSkip. Recently, the editor has been adding quotation marks to the video game title before moving it to the niche site (sometimes to movie titles on ReelRundown as well). The thing is, if you actually go on LevelSkip, you'll see plenty of articles with titles in...
by Linda Bryen 6 years ago
What does APA stands for?I always see it on the style tips on my hubs.
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