The Oxford Comma

What Is The Oxford Comma?

The Oxford Comma is the final comma before the word ‘and’ in a list.

EG I like apples, bananas, and peaches.

Why Use It?

Omitting the Oxford comma in the list above would be fine.

But leaving it out of some lists can cause confusion.

EG: I visited my friends, George and Mildred.
(Suggests George and Mildred are the friends I visited.)

VS: I visited my friends, George, and Mildred.
(Clarifies I’m listing all the people I visited: my friends and George and Mildred)

Should You Use It?

People disagree.

Having grown up in Australia I never used it. But when I did a psych degree and had to write papers and a thesis according to the APA Style I learned to appreciate it.

This infographic suggests it’s the US who are the main users. As most of my readers are in the US, and it feels good to me, I’m an OC user.

Oxford Comma Infographic

Be Consistent

Perhaps the best advice is to decide if you wish to use the Oxford Comma, and then to use it or not, consistently.

Don’t be an Oxford Comma, comma, comma, comma, comma chameleon.

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