The Oxford comma has been debated upon for quite some time now and we are here to solve your doubts related to the punctuation.
Before heading further, which of the following sentences is more appropriate than the other?
A) I thank my parents, God and Bob Marley for their help.
B) I like my coffee hot, black, and freshly brewed.
If you think that ‘A’ is pretty much alright, you’re on the side that doesn’t prefer using the Oxford comma.
And if you think ‘B’ makes things clear, you prefer the Oxford comma.
Generally the preference doesn’t matter as long as you aren’t writing for a publication with a specified rule regarding it. But, it is of some importance to know about it.
The Oxford comma clarifies meaning when it is placed before conjunctions, typically ‘or’ and ‘and’. Thus the comma after “black” in the second sentence was the Oxford comma.
The reason why the Oxford comma was proposed was to avoid confusions we can have like the one in sentence ‘A’. That sentence can be interpreted as the writer thanks his parents, who are God and Bob Marley for their help. To avoid this a third comma is introduced which separates the three.
The results can be hilarious at times and the internet never ceases to amuse its users. Here are a few that tickled my funny bone.
It is debated that the error can be rectified by rearranging the sentence to give a clearer meaning. So there is one way you can get out of the whole mess of understanding where to use the comma.
Some fun facts about the punctuation:
Oxford comma, also called as the serial comma which derived it’s name from Oxford University press where it was traditionally used.
Americans support the oxford comma whereas the British majority opposes it. Oxford in that matter is alienated in their own country.
It has been debated for quite some time now ,upon the usage of Oxford comma and the results have always been inconclusive. Thus, it can be fairly said that if you use the Oxford comma or not is up to your own personal preference. In either case, you are right. Who knows, you might give the reader a hefty laugh for not using one? Win-win situation!