Ode to the Oxford Comma

Oh, Oxford comma, how I adore you, even though some styles call you obsolete.  It’s actually one of the hardest things to remember about being a freelance editor – Chicago, for example, strongly recommends using the Oxford comma, but AP says not to unless it’s a complex list.  But I think it adds clarity and completeness, and I always use it given the chance.

What is an Oxford comma?  It is also known as a serial comma.  It’s the comma that goes before “and” in a list.  Coffee, cheese, and cookies.  As opposed to coffee, cheese and cookies.  Boo.  See how much more pretty it is with the comma?  When you speak, you pause after each item, so why leave out the comma?

Anyway, because we haven’t done any bad poetry in a while, here’s an ode to the Oxford comma.

Oh, give praise to the Oxford Comma
It helps us to avoid such drama
It divides a list
So why resist
And it’s more useful than a llama

2 responses to this post.

  1. My first reaction was to debate the last line – after all, llamas can be very useful in survival situations. On the other hand, though, I use the lovely Oxford comma on a daily basis, while I have never in my life used a llama for anything. 🙂


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