The Oxford comma

I find it hard to disagree with this article. The strongest point is here:

If we were to universally accept the Oxford comma, there would be no instances where you would suddenly have to omit the Oxford comma for clarity.

The Oxford comma is more consistent and more clear. That just makes the tech writer in me ache to use it. A lot of the article is argument from authority, but this point actually gets to the meat of it.

I didn’t know that the Oxford comma is an American standard, though. Now if only we could get Americans to put their dates in a logical order, we’d be getting somewhere…

Incidentally, if we do go to war for the Oxford comma, I intend to be a profiteer.

  1. You have been misinformed. Americans don’t know about anything called an Oxford comma. They/we know something called a serial comma, as per AP style. US writers almost all conform to AP style. What AP style says, US writers do. I cling to my AP style, despite having left that silly country.

    I know nothing of this Oxford for which you fight. However, if you resist the War of Oxford Comma, I will fight for your right to remain in Canada.

  2. That link claims that US writers use Chicago! Not so. AP > Chicago. And no one calls it CMOS. It is called Chicago.

    The end.

  3. Interesting article. I’ve always thought serial commas make for more pleasant looking sentences as the authors states here. Didn’t know they were called Oxford commas 🙂

  4. It’s funny, I did a googlefight for “Oxford comma” and “serial comma” and Oxford comma came out with 343,000 hits to serial comma’s 340,000. Then I tried with quotation marks around the phrase and Oxford comma was a clear winner, 50,300 to 11,000.

    Personally, I don’t really care what it’s called, but it is a good way to construct sentences in any case.

    But’s it’s absolutely true that no one on earth calls Chicago “CMOS”. I agree that’s just weird.

  5. Perhaps only USians don’t call it an Oxford comma. That would be fitting. It is a good thing and I do use it. Re “CMOS,” good to know.

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