The Importance Of The Oxford Comma

The ‘Oxford comma’ is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list:

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It’s known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press.  Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words:

These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green.

The Oxford comma is also known as the ‘serial comma’.


Thanks Brian S


11 comments to The Importance Of The Oxford Comma

  • Richard

    When I took a writing course in college, my instructor was pretty adamant about avoiding the Oxford comma. He was of the school that excess punctuation was to be avoided. I still follow that maxim, but iI can see the value of clarifying a list.

  • Mathman54

    Without the Oxford comma, I like bread, butter and bread and butter. With the Oxford comma, I like bread, butter, and bread and butter. In mathspeak, I like x such that x ϵ {bread, butter, bread and butter}. Which version is least likely to be misinterpreted?.

  • Ron Larson

    I always put the comma in just to make sure there is no doubt about what is in the list.

  • Bella

    Well, I, just, don’t, know. 😉

    Can you tell that I have no clue of what I am talking aboot?

  • crispy

    Commas? Oh, I, just, love, commas, I, use, them, all, the, time, in, everything, I, do, why, one, time …

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