Anti-Oxford Comma

Yes, it’s true. I am anti-oxford comma.

There, I said it.

I feel much better now.

Do you still like me?

Are you going to unfriend me?

Unsubscribe to my blog?

Call my mom and tell on me?

All of the above?

For those unfamiliar with this ongoing debate, this discretionary punctuation mark has caused quite an uproar in writing workshops, high-school English classrooms, and even courtrooms around the country. It is a fight to the death over whether or not a comma needs to precede the last element in a series – like red, white and blue.

Does it make your skin crawl that I didn’t use an Oxford comma just now? I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Baby, I was born this way.

I know I’m in the minority here. Lots of people disagree with me. Even Grammarly is against me. Every mistake it catches in this post is comma-related. Hey! I pay for Grammarly premium. I expect a special setting for comma preferences with my subscription.

Here is the tricky part. As a non-profit communications professional, I am obligated to follow the style guide assigned to me by the powers that be. If they follow the Associated Press (AP) style guide – as many sensible organizations do – AP is much more liberal and doesn’t care whether you use it as long as you pick a side and remain consistent throughout the document. It’s very democratic, and I, for one, am quite pleased with this compromise. There is no judgment. No muss. No fuss. No tracked changes or vetoes from the majority. Everyone is happy.

I mean, really, doesn’t this make sense? Can’t we all just get along?

Unfortunately, the non-profit I currently work for uses the Chicago Manual of Style guide (UGH!), which strictly forbids omitting said (and sad) serial comma. This means that if I want to get paid, I must relinquish my inherent – and practically religious – belief on this issue and acquiesce.

After all, I have two children to put through college. I can be a team player. And I’ll just save my recreational, controversial and reckless anti-oxford comma activities for my blog and someday my book.

Unless I find an editor who is pro-Oxford comma, then we may have a problem.

P.S. – I hope this doesn’t change things between us. I still love you regardless of your punctuation preferences. No matter how misguided they may be. ๐Ÿ˜‰

4 comments on Anti-Oxford Comma

  1. Tamara
    January 22, 2022 at 5:01 am (4 months ago)

    OK, help me out here. My first language is German, and as such

    “red, white, and blue” looks very wrong and not at all what I was taught all through my schooling.

    Loved your humorous post, and I don’t discriminate against comma usage – or not usage. Now if we’re talking “your, you’re” and the like, I may not be as tolerant ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Victoria Juster
    January 21, 2022 at 8:28 pm (4 months ago)

    It looks clunky and there is no reason for it! A friend who edits my posts is the daughter of an English grammer teacher. She has never used or added the oxford-comma to any of my writing. I’m with you!

  3. Kate Loving
    January 21, 2022 at 8:02 am (4 months ago)

    The rules of grammar arenโ€™t always clear. Reading this post makes me want to brush up on my grammar skills. The comma is not as pressing as other rules I know I misuse.

  4. Lynn
    January 21, 2022 at 12:39 am (4 months ago)

    I LOVED reading this. I am not typically very good at my comma usage. As I write this I’m glad to hear that you won’t judge me on my comma skills. I use grammarly to help me in my writing skills and I’m pretty sure they are Oxford trained. I’m always getting dings on those pesky little critters.
    Thank you for the humorous look at grannar. I enjoyed the read.

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