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 preference.
Hopefully there are other nerds who have a strong preference, don't leave me handing guys.
This made it all clear to me.
I have no idea what an Oxford comma is, perhaps it's because us Brits just use it anyway? What is it?
OK I have googled it.
I was never required to use it at school, I started using it recently.
For some reason it just suits the way that I read, I like the Oxford comma.
Last time I checked, MLA also required the final comma with items in a series. It's been several years since I checked, however, and MLA guidelines do change from time to time. I always use the comma.
I just checked MLA. As of 2009, the comma was still required. The MLA is the bible for most English teachers in the U.S.! lol
In the states it's generally considered a requirement. In Canada and the UK it's usually considered incorrect. I'm not sure about the rest of the world. I think there's enough contention to make it a matter of personal preference, and occasionally, necessity.
Why change a good thing?
That kind of comma is easily understood, follows a tradition of writing technique, and isn't distracting at all, in my opinion; it's actually the misuse of it (like, when people mistakenly use it instead of a semi-colon), or the absence of it, that becomes distracting.
I'm not suggesting anyone change anything. Like I said, in some parts of the world it's a necessity, in others it's considered an error. I was just wondering what people's opinions were.
I didn't realise it was controversial. I always use it before the last item in a list. I find it jarring when it's missing. I don't like to see a comma used as a placemarker for a quick breath - yes, I've seen it recommended for that purpose!
I'll dabble in not using it, but there's something "mentally unsettling" to me about the open-ended-ness (or inconsistency - or something) of not using it. AP Style says don't use it; so, all in all, it's always a mini-crisis for me to have to decide between the old fashioned teachers I had in primary school and AP style (if/when I'm even being that formal).
It's not at all common when you are writing in English in England so I guess it's an American thing, like the misspelling of our words.
Which is grammatically correct :
Apples, bananas and pears. Or
Apples, bananas, and pears.
In English one is grammatically wrong the other one is commonly used in the USA not hard to guess which one.
Although I agree with Ryankett it is a pain in the Ass when confronted with an American smart assed editor.... As if an Americanised Spellchecker was not bad enough.
In that particular example, I'd have to go with the comma at bananas - no matter who said it shouldn't be there. For me, sometimes it depends on the individual sentence.
In fairness to something like AP style, a lot of that is about streamlining the printed word and consistency between different pieces of writing. There are other fields (like science or engineering) that have their own writing requirements for consistency, as well - so writing in a specific field often requires a different set of rules than "mainstream" English grammar rules.
There's a point where I think readers of things like American newspapers have to keep in mind that there's a difference between a novel, a textbook, some other general-audience book, and material that requires intentionally changing some formal, grammar, rules for a reason.
As for the spelling differences, I think it might be nice if everyone settled on spelling things the same way in the same language.
I'm not too thrilled with a lot of the things that have happened with grammar in the U.S. One that irks the heck out of me is that now, apparently, it's OK to write/say something like this: "Each person should sign the book when they arrive." ( ) That drives me nuts!! Apparently, we're not grown-up enough, and sure enough of ourselves, to be able to handle the use of "he", which goes with the singular, "each".
As a woman, I've never found it that big of a deal to go with "he", in view of the fact that it happens to be a convenient way to do things and doesn't particularly mean writers don't know that women exist. This new "singular they" thing is something I don't ever plan to do. That particular thing shows up everywhere now, and it's just a brain-rattler!
The use of commas to distinguish uniqueness in description is much more satisfying than tying the last two subjects together, as if they were one and the same...It also gives the sentence a much smoother flow and rhythm...But then I'm American, and we like to keep things simple, like my use of these commas...
Generally, I don't think that we need the Oxford comma, but, occasionally, it may make one's meaning clearer, I think.
Certainly in the example given:
'Apples, bananas and pears' or 'Apples, bananas, and pears', it should be the former.
I love that everyone has a different opinion about this. I personally don't think it's at all necessary that we all treat English the same way.
As far as spelling goes Merlin, the "u" just looks better, certainly, but I'm Canadian, and when I was in school in the States no one ever gave me heck for using it.
The world is better for our differences. It takes all kinds of clown to make a good circus.
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