Heard About Oxford Comma? Here’s Why You Need To Use It

What is the Oxford Comma?

The Oxford comma is a comma usually placed in front of a conjunction to avoid ambiguity in some sentences.
Yes, it may seem pretentious but it is quite necessary.

“I love my sisters, Sansa and Arya Stark.”
“I love my sisters, Sansa, and Arya Stark.”
Without the Oxford comma, we’re leading people into thinking we have the two coolest girls in the North as our sisters. (If only)

“I like chocolate, muffins and pizza.”— leading to the potential to read the last two items as one combination item.
As opposed to “I like chocolate, muffins, and pizza.” This sentence is much clearer and brushes away any prospects of unambiguity.

oxford comma

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The Oxford Comma was initially used by the editors and readers from the Oxford University. Possibly, why the whole notion of pretentiousness comes into place.

It is neither correct nor incorrect but must, however, be used consistently.
Even though there are a few different perspectives about how to use the Oxford comma, and where it’s appropriate, anyone familiar with professional writing would know that inconsistency looks improper. As such, it’s smart to develop a standard for how you’ll use the Oxford Comma in your writing.

More Examples :

“I am going to the shop to buy my favorite flavor of ice cream, soy sauce, and raisins.”
“I am going to the shop to buy my favorite flavor of ice cream, soy sauce, and raisins.”

“I went to the zoo with my friend, a baker and a pianist.”
“I went to the zoo with my friend, a baker, and a pianist.”

“I would like to thank my parents, Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket for instilling in me my love for books.”
“I would like to thank my parents, Harry Potter, and Lemony Snicket for instilling in me my love for books.”


A court recently ruled in favor of Maine dairy drivers in a labor dispute that depended entirely on the illustrious comma.

In this epic lawsuit, drivers for Maine Dairy sued the company over its failure to grant them overtime pay. According to Maine law, workers are entitled to 1.5 times their normal pay for any hours worked over 40 per week with some exceptions where companies don’t need to pay overtime for some specific activities. Such as:
The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
1. Agricultural produce;
2. Meat and fish product; and
3. Perishable foods
Note the end of the opening line, where there is no comma before the “or.”

Maine Dairy argued its drivers did not qualify for overtime because they engage in distribution, and the law states that “packing for shipment” and “distribution” as two separate exempt activities.

However, the drivers argued that the law said no such thing. Without the Oxford comma, the law could be read to exclude only packing — whether it was packing for shipment or packing for distribution. Distribution by itself, in this case, would not be exempt.
See how important the Oxford comma is?

oxford comma
(Source: Grammarly)

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There are ways of getting around it:

For instance, Instead of “I am going to the shop to buy my favorite flavor of ice cream, soy sauce, and raisins.”
You could write,” I am going to the shop to buy soy sauce, raisins and my favorite flavor of ice cream.”

By rearranging your sentences and being mindful of your grammar, you could very well manage without the Oxford comma.
However, using it saves us the pain and the sort of mind disarrayed task of having to rearrange words.

So to conclude, it isn’t really a “do or die” situation but the convenience it has to offer goes without saying.

To comma or not to comma?
It’s your choice. However using it would mean that consistency be maintained and not using it would mean that you’ll have to be rearranging a lot to keep up that unambiguity.
So be vigilant and happy “comma’ing!”

Was this article helpful? Do let us know in the comments section below. Planning to use Oxford Comma from Now On?

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Farah Deeba enjoys writing Fiction, Poetry, and playing with her two Guinea Pigs, Bablu & Chintu. She can also conjure up some delicious Food Haiku when called upon. She started her long standing love affair with writing since the time she knew how to write. Dentist by day, writer and candle maker by night (depending on the weather), she writes book reviews on her Instagram Book Blog: Thelittlebookmaid93. She urges you to check it out. She really urges you. (please)