Oxford Comma

Oxford Comma

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Updated Apr 10, 2015 at 04:48PM EDT by Don.

Added Apr 10, 2015 at 02:35PM EDT by Don.

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About

The Oxford Comma, also known as a serial comma, is a comma that precedes the coordinating conjunction at the end of a series of three or more terms. The usage of the comma and its grammatical correctness is hotly debated among writers and editors, with many proponents advocating its ability to resolve ambiguity, while others deem it as superfluous and equally susceptible to ambiguity.

Origin

The Oxford comma was introduced in the 1905 edition of the Oxford University Press Style Guide, where it has remained intact since then.

Usage in English-Language Publications

Pro-Serial Comma
  • The U.S. Government Printing Office
  • The Oxford Style Manual
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • The Elements of Style
  • The American Medical Association
Anti-Serial Comma
  • The Australian Government Publishing Service
  • The Guardian
  • The Economist
  • The AP Stylebook
  • The New York Times

Spread

On May 26th, 2008, the indie pop band Vampire Weekend released the track "Oxford Comma" as the third single from their debut album Vampire Weekend (shown below).



On March 29th, 2011, Redditor toastplease submitted a post expressing support for the Oxford comma to the /r/reddit.com[5] subreddit. On January 22nd, 2012, Redditor Trayf submitted an image illustrating two depictions of a sentence about orange juice, toast and eggs to the /r/funny[6] subreddit, where it received upwards of 2,000 votes (92% upvoted) prior to being archived.


WHY I STILL USE THE OXFORD COMMA shortee.tumblr.com I had eggs, toast, and orange juice WITHOUT: I had eggs, toast and orange juice

On January 24th, the food blog EndlessSimmer[4] highlighted several pro-Oxford comma image macros. On May 9th, 2013, the digital web agency Nebo published a blog post about misconceptions regarding the Oxford comma, which highlighted an image illustrating how the comma can make a sentence more ambiguous (shown below).


thou KFORD OXFORD COMMA COMMA A, Av IT is eyebrows, a swirling black mustache and a pair of neatly runed sideburns congr is eyebrows, a swirling black mustache, and a pair of neatly pr ssed on Rollie Fingers's granite-like face. uned sideburns congre essed on p Rollie Fingers's granite-like face

On July 11th, Redditor nayithemon submitted a comic illustrating a sentence about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and a rhinoceros written with and without an Oxford comma (shown below, right). Prior to being archived, the post gathered more than 2,400 votes and 480 comments.


With the Oxford Comma: We invited the rhinoceri, Washington, and Lincoln Without the Oxford Comma: We invited the rhinoceri, Washington and Lincoln

On January 15th, 2014, BuzzFeed[2] posted a compilation of pro-Oxford comma images. On March 11th, Redditor Facetious_Otter submitted a post inviting a debate about the use of Oxford commas to the /r/changemyview[7] subreddit, where the top-voted comment presented an example of ambiguity introduced by using an Oxford comma. On March 17th, the TED-Ed YouTube channel uploaded a video titled "Grammar's great divide: The Oxford Comma" (shown below). On June 17th, the polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight[1] published an article regarding a poll about the comma's usage among Americans, which found 57% prefer to use the Oxford comma.



Various Examples


WHY I STILL USE THE OXFORD COMMA I bought Diet Coke, peanut butter, and chocolate. + SKIPPY -+ CREAMY Ibought Diet Coke. peanut butter and chocolate. with the Oxford comme ude invited the strippers, jfk, aned stalin. without the Oxford coma: we invited the strippers, jfk an stalin. oo O2-UK 3G 18:36 Tuesday 10 December ws 3m ago Top stories: World leaders at Mandela tribute, Obama-Castro handshake and same-sex marriage date set... slide to view slide to unlock
Thanks! 30 To my parents, Ayn Rand, and God. To my parents, Ayn Rand and God. I NOTICED YOU DON'T USE AN OXFORD COMMA ITOO LIKE TO LIVE DANGEROUSLY quickmeme.com STANDARD COMMA YOU KNOW BOB, SUE AND GREG? THEY CAME TO MY HOUSE YOU KNOW BOB, SUE, AND GREG? THEY CAME TO MY HOUSE WALKEN COMMA YOU KNOW, BOB, SUE, AND GREG, THEY CAME, TO MY HOUSE?

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