I love Oxford commas. I love them so much, that this is the song I wake up to every morning before I begin my daily excursions. (This is the second song I wake up to — 2 alarms — but that’s because it makes me feel pumped up and ready to take on the world because power.)
Oxford commas are beautiful, darling little pieces of punctuation that make me smile. They add an additional break in a list, providing ease of reading and consistency. As to why you would write “this, this and this” but not “this, this, and this” – I have no clue! Look at how wonderful that last comma is! Look at the consistency!
Anyway, for a reason that is not apparent to me (and will probably never be apparent to me), news writing shuns the Oxford comma. They completely get rid of it. This is a problem because 1. I’m a creature of habit. I like consistency in my daily routine and that translates over to my writing, so using a comma in breaking up a list except for the last thing really bothers me. 2. I was taught in English classes, throughout all my years of schooling, to use the Oxford comma. I didn’t even know that some writing styles completely threw it out until I began writing for my school’s newspaper. That was a rude awakening.
I am currently in a news writing class, and I’ve had to kiss my beautiful Oxford comma goodbye. We said our farewells for the semester, but I told it that I would always remember it. And that’s why I’m dedicating a post of mine to the Oxford comma. Also because I have 20th Century History reading that I really don’t want to do, but primarily because I miss my Oxford comma.
What I didn’t realize, however, was that some people don’t ever use an Oxford comma. Ever. Even outside of news writing. One of my friends in my humanities classes last semester didn’t use a single Oxford comma in any of her papers. She even suggested I eliminate mine. I was so shocked at the suggestion I didn’t even know how to respond. Not use my Oxford comma? What? But apparently that’s a thing and some people just don’t use them, which is fine, I suppose, for them… Their loss. I
like love them, but I shall not force them upon others.
Side note: I just did some Googling on the Oxford comma and I learned that most British writers do not use Oxford commas. I might cry. This is causing serious tension between my love for British spelling/writing and Oxford commas.
I have not yet decided on whether or not to use the Oxford comma in my blog posts. I need to figure that out pretty quickly, though, because I’m quite certain I have not been consistent, and that’s a real problem (refer back to “creature of habit”).
Regardless, I will ponder the situation at hand and decide soon on whether or not to use my Oxford commas.
Consistency is key.