Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oxford Commas

Back on 29 June 2011, the University of Oxford Writing and Style Guide decided that writers should, “as a general rule”, avoid using the Oxford comma. Have you missed the good old fashioned serial comma at all?

Here’s an explanation from the style guide: “As a general rule, do not use the serial/Oxford comma: so write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used – especially where one of the items in the list is already joined by ‘and’ [for example]: They had a choice between croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli.”

But although I have Googled far and wide, I find editors, journalists and writers don’t miss it at all. In fact most newspapers and popular fiction killed it off long ago.
But just in case anyone cares…

Helen Woodall
Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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