The Oxford Comma

One for the little guy who hangs out on the bottom line:

The Oxford comma/controversial companion/it structures my lists.

I’m a big fan of the Oxford comma. There are three reasons: clarity, simplicity, and consistency. As for clarity, it draws a bright line between items. As for simplicity, there are no exceptions; all items are followed by punctuation. As for consistency, well, all items are followed by punctuation.

I get the counterargument that the Oxford comma is redundant. English is already a high-redundancy language and the Oxford comma isn’t the driving factor, so I’m not convinced it’s worth dropping for that reason. I get the argument that it’s old-fashioned and I hold that the burden of proof that change is warranted falls on those who propose change. Sans such proof abandoning the old for its age is as silly as retaining the old for the same reason.

Support your local Oxford comma.

Advertisements

About this entry