Do you use a serial (Oxford) comma?

A serial comma (or Oxford comma) is an optional comma used before the last item in a list. For example, "bread, butter, and tax evasion" uses a serial comma, whereas "bread, butter and tax evasion" does not.

Do you use it? Why or why not?

I always use it. I don't perceive any less of a pause between the last two items in a list than between any others, so it feels natural to put a comma there as well. Tbh, I'm so used to it that I usually have to do a double-take when it's not there (since it looks like a grammar error to me at first).

crozilla,

I always use it. Writing is about communication, so it’s your duty to make sure a reader understands how to interpret what you wrote. That said, when I speak to someone, I NEVER use the Oxford comma.

ook_the_librarian,
@ook_the_librarian@lemmy.world avatar

That said, when I speak to someone, I NEVER use the Oxford comma

That’s very Wodehouse-esque. Happen to be a Psmith fan?

crozilla,

Well, now that I know about him, I plan to be. 👍

gerryflap,
@gerryflap@feddit.nl avatar

I’m not a native speaker, but I do prefer using it yeah. In my opinion it reads nicer and less ambiguous. In your example the “butter and tax evasion” otherwise kinda reads like it’s one thing. You need to finish reading the following words before you can be sure that it’s the “terminal and” and not some in-between “and”. But “, and” directly communicates that it’s the terminating “and”, making reading easier.

JoBo,

They’re sometimes necessary for disambiguation. I use them all the time because it’s easier than remembering to use them when they’re necessary.

nicetriangle,
nicetriangle avatar

Yeah exact same opinion. I've trained myself to use them by default. Not having one when necessary is a lot worse than having them where it's not absolutely needed. Just totally cuts out any chance of ambiguity.

livus,
livus avatar

I use it.

Only way to avoid travesties like the famous "I want to thank my parents, Margaret Thatcher and God."

ulkesh,
@ulkesh@beehaw.org avatar

Yes. Because it’s the correct thing to do.

😜

BradleyUffner,

yall are lucky when I can be arsed to use any punctuation at all

ook_the_librarian,
@ook_the_librarian@lemmy.world avatar

You, laz.y ba’stard;

hellfire103,

Yes, I do. It makes lists less ambiguous (usually, anyway).

TheGiantKorean,
@TheGiantKorean@lemmy.world avatar

Yes.

RoboRay,
RoboRay avatar

I'm a technical writer (aircraft maintenance and flight operations manuals, mostly) and eliminating ambiguity is key to clear, effective communication.

Leaving out that comma takes a sentence with only one possible interpretation and gives it several options instead.

redcalcium,

I’m not a native speaker and was taught not to use it in middle school.

livus,
livus avatar

You should sue them.

iAmTheTot,
iAmTheTot avatar

Inclusion is non negotiable.

BoBTFish,
BoBTFish avatar

I was taught in school (UK in the '90s) that putting a comma in that spot is outright wrong. As an adult I realised it is much clearer and always use it.

Toneswirly,

AP style guide when i was in school suggested NOT putting a comma in, but also said it doesnt really matter. I err on the side of no comma

meiti,

I use it, since I like it.

DessertStorms,
DessertStorms avatar

I tend to use it, but also Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma? (or more seriously) So I don't really care or usually even notice if others do, since in 99% of cases you can understand from context what someone means, and if you still don't, you can ask (and have a little chuckle together at a possibly absurd result to the omission)..

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