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


7 Responses to “Oxford commas (2): Live dangerously – take our poll!”  

  1. 1 Trey Jones

    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?

  2. 2 wordstogoodeffect

    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.

  3. 3 Trey Jones

    When you’ve recovered, check out another novel typographic solution, the quotta and the quottiod..

    http://specgram.com/CLI.4/04.celen.quotta.html

    Put the comma * right under* the quote, and people will see what they want to see. Only your typesetter knows for sure.

  4. 4 wordstogoodeffect

    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!”).

  5. 5 ALTA Language Services

    Setting aside any real commentary we might offer on this subject, we thought we’d share a sort-of-semi-relevant song. Vampire Weekend’s ‘Oxford Comma’ http://bit.ly/aLIzk5 (Note: some language NSFW)

    P.S. We always use the Oxford comma!

  6. 6 wordstogoodeffect

    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!

  7. 7 Martin

    I find it’s better to use the Oxford comma, mostly because I feel that with international readership it is less likely to be misunderstood.

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