Oxford commas (2): Live dangerously – take our poll!

Do you use the Oxford (serial) comma?

Here’s a sentence with the Oxford comma:

My favourite foods are Greek yoghurt, salted almonds, cheese, and dark chocolate.

Here’s the same sentence without:

My favourite foods are Greek yoghurt, salted almonds, cheese and dark chocolate.

And here’s one where, unless you change the order of the list items, the serial comma is needed for clarity:

My favourite foods are Greek yoghurt, salted almonds, cheese, dark chocolate, and gin and tonic.

What’s your position on the Oxford comma?

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. You can eat your cake and have it too: “The Oxford Comma: A Solution,” by Eliza Doolittle—http://specgram.com/CL.2/03.doolittle.odcom.html

    Shall we argue next about where commas go with respect to quotation marks?

    1. Oh, thanks for that! Sounds like the ideal solution!

      And yes please, an argumentcivilised discussion about where commas go with respect to quotation marks would be wonderful. But a bit too much excitement for me right now. I can only take so much high-powered grammar in one week.

        1. Thank you again for some inspiring and thought-provoking reading. And lovely to at last see the OdCom in action. Typesetters of the world – a new age dawns! (Or, “Get with it, guys!”).

    1. Apologies for delay publishing your comment – it got stuck with the spam, for some reason. And thanks for the link – erm, did you see my post of 15 Aug?
      Hope you took the poll, BTW!

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