Team Oxford Comma: Never Surrender

In the world of ladyblogs, everything is up for debate. And here at Persephone, no issue is more debated or more divisive than the Oxford comma. Earlier this week, news hit the Internet that Oxford University Press had changed its style rules in favor of dropping the much-beloved (or much-hated, if you’re, you know, WRONG) serial comma. Cue the editorial emails asking me, as self-appointed captain of Team Oxford Comma, if I planned to write the obituary for my beloved punctuation. Well, sorry to those who hate clarity (and apologies to Shakespeare as well), but I come to praise the Oxford comma, not to bury it.

You see, Oxford has since clarified that the change was only applicable to internal press releases, and did not affect its official styleguide. So, I hate to break it to you, Team Wrong, but the Oxford Comma lives. And thank goodness for that, because if the Oxford comma were to ever be put to its final rest, grammar nerds would need to find something else to argue about when they’ve been drinking. And quite frankly, I can’t muster up the same passion regarding split infinitives.

And in case you find it hard to believe that people could possibly get so worked up over a little piece of punctuation, here are a few articles to prove that people will always be nerdier than you think possible:


Mercury News

The Independent

The Washington Post

The Baltimore Sun

10 replies on “Team Oxford Comma: Never Surrender”

There are two perfectly logical reasons to believe the Oxford comma is antiquated.
1. It’s redundant. If there’s an ‘and’ it means the same thing.
2. It takes up extra space, and makes text less pretty. Sure, this is more important in print, because ink is more expensive than pixels, but space is still valuable.

Personally, I’m not opposed to using the occasional Oxford in a really complicated sentence, as I do. In a simple list? It’s unnecessary.

I stand against the Osford comma, even if I stand alone. *spits on ground*

I’m sorry, did the woman who still uses two spaces after every sentence just argue that the Oxford comma takes up too much valuable space? Whatever you’re selling, MacIntosh, I’m not buying.

I’m doing the Bluth chicken dance of victory over here. Or hell, Numfar’s Dance of Righteous Commas. I’m doing all of the dances.

No way! There’s simply no reason to use the Oxford comma as default; it should be added for emphasis or for clarity when necessary. Shouldn’t writing try to reflect speech? Who among us would pause between “eggs” and “and” in the list “Ham, eggs, and cheese” if the cheese had no magical properties?

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