Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma can be a tricky little piece of grammar. It’s used to clarify meaning before conjunctions such as ‘and’ or ‘or’ in a sentence. As of writing this article, the Oxford comma has almost 33,000 likes on Facebook; super important evidence that it is important to certain people.
The Oxford comma is not necessary in a simple list, as the meaning is evident without it. However, it is used in more complex sentences to help readers to understand more clearly.
Really, it’s up to you if you want to use it in your work but if you decide you want to it’s important you remain consistent! If you are going to use the Oxford comma it will help you avoid ambiguity, will help readers to comprehend more difficult syntax structures and will match natural speech patterns. That said, it can also make your writing more difficult to understand, it is often regarded as redundant and it takes up space.
You can also decide whether you wish to use it based on your location. If you live in the UK, Canada or Australia you can probably get away with omitting the Oxford comma. However, if you dwell in the USA it’s probably best that you apply it.
The Oxford Comma | Online Schools
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