What is ‘The Oxford Comma’

UnknownThe ‘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 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:

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


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Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. I thought I was the last user of the Oxford comma, but you are spot on, it stops a sentence being ambiguous, the real reason behind all punctuation. Thanks, Janet.

  2. Well in the 1960s we were taught that the use of a comma before the word “and” was incorrect and it’s something which has stuck with me. Having said that we were also taught that not only does a comma break up a list it also provides an indication as to where a pause may be taken when reading, so in my opinion that’s a contradiction of the original rule. Maybe it just depended on what type of school one attended and what examining board was used?

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