By George Schroeder | LTVN Reporter/Anchor
I have used the Oxford comma all my life and throughout my education, but something strange happened when I came to Baylor University. I found out that not everyone uses this perfect grammatical device.
Let me start by explaining what the Oxford comma is. Essentially, when listing nouns in a sentence, the Oxford comma separates the second-to-last noun from the “and” before the last item on the list.
Since becoming a journalism major, I have found out that journalists do not use the Oxford comma. Listen, I have read a newspaper before, and I read articles all the time. I have just never taken notice that the comma wasn’t there.
Proper academic format requires the Oxford comma. Why can’t journalism do the same? I don’t want to say that the journalists have it wrong, but the journalists have it wrong.
When making lists in an article, it just feels wrong to me not to put a comma before the “and.” I like dogs, cats and fish. Read that last sentence again and tell me that doesn’t just feel wrong on the inside. “I like dogs, cats, and fish.” Now that’s a healthy sentence.
Standardizing the Oxford comma across all forms of writing just makes sense. Besides the fact that I grew up with it and the world should revolve around me, not having to think about when I should and shouldn’t use a comma in that situation would lower my stress and anxiety levels. It wouldn’t lower them much, but they would be lower.
Listen, maybe you aren’t a fan of the Oxford comma, but to me, that’s like saying you aren’t a fan of being able to taste good food. The Oxford comma is tasteful, and if you don’t like the taste, clearly your palate must not be as superior as my Gordon Ramsay-level palate.
Moral of the of the story: the Oxford comma is the optimal choice for writing. Every time you read one of my articles and you see no comma before the “and” in a list, think of the poor little Oxford comma who lost their job to the journalist, and know that I am on its side.