Posted at 02:49 PM ET, 06/30/2011

The Oxford comma lives, so why am I so sad?


An Oxford English Dictionary. (Caleb Jones - AP)

The victim of the latest celebrity death hoax* on Twitter seems to be . . . the Oxford comma.

Oxford University Press has eased the fears of the Twittersphere, saying there have been no changes to the rule set down in “New Hart’s Rules” pertaining to its comma, which is used before a coordinating conjunction in a list of three or more, words according to the Associated Press.

The source of the death rumors seems to be a University of Oxford public relations guide, which allows for the Oxford comma, also known as a serial comma, to be dropped in press releases and internal communications.

I, for one, am disappointed that it lives. Or, you could say, I am distraught, unhappy, and bewildered.

As a student of journalism, my professors taught me to resist the Oxford comma in keeping with most newspaper style guides, including the Associated Press. I now have an irrational hatred for the Oxford comma, which to me feels clunky. Being distraught, unhappy and bewildered seems more than enough for me.

Others do not agree. Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in favor of the Oxford comma, calling it “one of the sanest punctuation usages in the written language.”

“It gives each element of a series its own distinct place in it, instead of lumping the last two together in one hasty breath,” she wrote. “Think about it — when you bake, you gather up your eggs, butter, sugar, and flour; you don't treat sugar and flour as a pair. That would be insane.”

Let us know what you think of the Oxford comma. Vampire Weekend certainly doesn’t give a bleep.

Professor friend o mine is against losing the Oxford comma, but wishes his students would lose the Shatner comma. You, know, what, he means.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

BREAKING: I prefer the Ohio University comma to the Oxford comma. The Ohio University comma is when you pause between words to take a drink.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Never trust an enemy of the Oxford comma.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

*Credit due to mobile editor Christopher Stanford.

By  |  02:49 PM ET, 06/30/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company