Oxford Comma ~ Yes or No?

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Oxford Comma?

Yes!
63
93%
No!
5
7%
 
Total votes: 68

AmandaRuth
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Re: Oxford Comma ~ Yes or No?

Post by AmandaRuth »

Yes! I teach third grade in Nepal and I have taught all of my students to use the Oxford comma. It is not necessary in every situation, but it adds important clarity in enough situations. Have you heard the song by Vampire Weekend about the Oxford comma?

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moderntimes
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Post by moderntimes »

No. I'll check Youtube however. Thanks.
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AmandaRuth
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Post by AmandaRuth »

The song might not be for everyone, but it is the song that remind me of the Oxford comma. Unfortunately, the lyrics are such that we can't play it for the kids!

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Veritas1325
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Post by Veritas1325 »

An unequivocal yes!

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Alec Corvi
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Post by Alec Corvi »

Yes! - Only yes and just, yes.

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sagirudn1
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Post by sagirudn1 »

I say yes

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Post by Chels14 »

I was a little unsure of how Oxford commas were used. This post was very informing! Thanks everyone.

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moderntimes
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Post by moderntimes »

There seems to still be some ambiguity about what the Oxford comma really is. Most folks believe it's a comma before the "and" in a list of equal items:

The balloons were red, blue and green. (no comma before the "and")
vs
The balloons were red, blue, and green. ("Oxford comma" before the "and")

However I found in an ACTUAL guide published by, wait for it, Oxford University, that the comma is used to separate unequal items in a list:

I ate fish and chips, and ice cream and cake. (comma before the "and" is the real Oxford comma) See my post #11 in this thread to see the actual example from the real, true Oxford University guide.

And then, it turns out that another genuine Oxford University publication seems to conflict another publication of its own press.

I'd always thought that the Oxford comma was the former example (balloons) until I saw the actual Oxford guide which SPECIFICALLY names the "Oxford comma" as one which is used in an unequal list (the food sentence). But another Oxford U publication seems to contradict this.

So I dunno. I'd always used the comma in a list of equal items. This use was common in the US but not so in the UK, and in recent years, the comma is deleted from US style as well. But my publisher provided the Oxford guide and so I've deleted the comma in all my novels. That's the "balloon" comma in the former example above, and continued to use the comma in an unequal list (the latter example).

In all the books which I've been reading in the past few years, the comma in an equal list is deleted, for both US and UK typography. These are new professionally published books. So apparently, the omission of the "Oxford comma" in a list of equal items has become the standard.

Therefore, anyone who's submitting for professional publication or sale, best to omit the "balloon" usage comma. Personally, I don't care.
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DanAmerson
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Post by DanAmerson »

I say yes. Regardless, you should use it deliberately because to do otherwise could be an amphiboly (ambiguity in the text).

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MaiaCer
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Post by MaiaCer »

Actually, as an USA author and past editor I expect the Oxford comma. I am aware of both of the usages. It is not something that I consider a deal breaker if I see both consistency in usage and ease of reading. Anything that throws me out of my 'suspension of disbelief', and back to the real word is a cause for concern.
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moderntimes
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Post by moderntimes »

The US was behind the UK in omitting the "Oxford" comma (which I still hold isn't the right definition) -- comma before the "and" in a list of equal items. So it's taken me time to switch to omit the comma, but since this is now standard usage for both US and UK, away it goes.
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RachelErmutlu
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Post by RachelErmutlu »

I think an Oxford comma should be used. The sentence and the sentence meaning can be confusing if it is not.

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moderntimes
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Post by moderntimes »

Rachel, your concern is directed toward the unequal list, which is what I believe is the actual Oxford comma, such as:

I ordered fish and chips, and ice cream and cake.

This comma prior to the "and" is what I think is the genuine Oxford comma and is not the list of equal items, such as:

I bought red, blue and green balloons.

Where the omitted comma is often termed the Oxford comma, but in absence (which doesn't make sense) and even though many want a comma before the "and" in that sentence, it makes sense with or without the comma.

But it all comes down on what your editor / publisher wants, I suppose. I used the "balloon" comma until I received the stylebook from my editor, and so I removed that "equal list" comma in my manuscripts when I submitted the galley proofs.

Regardless, the use of the "equal list" comma (the balloon example) is in decline both in the US and UK. Likely it will disappear in 10 years.
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Post by CzechTigg »

Great thread. Just the one sentence can lead to confusion. But elaboration can be enough for the reader, even if a grammar sin is committed.
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Post by rainyday »

Absolutely! I'm a huge fan of the Oxford comma. When I took a journalism class a year ago, it came to my attention that the Oxford comma is generally unused in journalistic writing. I was a little bit sad.

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