The oxford comma (i.e., serial comma)

What is the Oxford comma and why should I care? The Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, or the Harvard comma, is the final comma in a list of things. In the sentence below, the Oxford comma comes after the word ‘paper’.
  • Please bring me a pencil, paper, and scissors.

Do I need to use the Oxford Comma (i.e., serial comma)?

Some grammar guides insist on the use of Oxford comma while others do not. Which guide is correct? The AP Style Guide does not require the use of the Oxford comma. According to the AP Style Guide, one would write the sentence above as:
  • Please bring me a pencil, paper and scissors.
Whether or not you use the Oxford comma is up to you unless you’re writing a paper for school and your teacher insists that you use the Oxford comma. One should be aware that omitting the Oxford comma may cause ambiguity in certain cases.
  • I detest my sisters, Madonna and Britney Spears.
Without the Oxford comma, the sentence above could be interpreted as stating that you don't like your sisters, and your sisters are Madonna and Britney Spears. What a horrible family that would be! Here’s the same sentence with the Oxford comma:
  • I detest my sisters, Madonna, and Britney Spears.
Now it is clear, you don’t like your sisters, and you don’t like Madonna, and you don’t like Britney Spears. You are beginning to sound like a very negative person! It is important to state that many writers and editors differ on whether to use the serial comma. Those who oppose the use of the serial comma say that an unclear sentence should simply be rephrased. For example:
  • I detest Madonna, Britney Spears and my sisters.

Have you tried the FREE PaperRater automated proofreader yet?  What are you waiting for?

Automated Proofreader

The need to use commas

One thing is certain, it is necessary to put a comma between the different items in a list. Let’s review the following sentences:
  • The school has a garden in which the students grow tobacco, tomatoes, cilantro, and green beans.
  • Saturday morning started with a hearty breakfast of beans, plantains, eggs, and coffee.
Everyone is in agreement that the items in these lists must be separated by a comma. The only disagreement concerns the final comma in these lists, placed before the word ‘and’. This comma is known as the Oxford Comma (i.e., serial comma). Not all writers use it, but using it can make your writing easier to comprehend. Let’s examine the following sentence:
  • My favorite sandwiches are bologna, turkey and spam and cheese.
It isn’t obvious from this sentence whether the writer is listing three or four of their favorite sandwich fillings: is ‘spam’ one of their favourites and ‘cheese’ another, or is it the combination of spam and cheese that they enjoy so much? Adding an Oxford comma makes the meaning obvious:
  • My favorite sandwiches are bologna, turkey, and spam and cheese.

Example sentences using the Oxford Comma (i.e., serial comma)

  • She took a photograph of her parents, the president, and the vice president.
  • This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.
  • My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew.

Example sentences which should have use the Oxford Comma!

  • This award is dedicated to my home boys, Goof Ball and God.
  • A notorious gambler, he owed money to his ex-wives, Hulk Hogan and Jay Z.

Example sentences using the Oxford comma

  • Zinovieff shot over five hundred of the bourgeoisie at a stroke—nobles, professors, officers, journalists, men and women.
  • We had coffee, cheese and crackers, and grapes.

As the researcher is currently working and also in the process of finalizing final year project paper, the schedule is relatively tight. India took an anti-Partition stand as she herself underwent the tragic experience of partition which led to the bloody exchange of population and therefore, did not want Palestine to undergo such a calamity. And termed those new variables ‘‘anticipated emotions’’ and ‘‘desires,’’ which are the emotions associated with specific end states and outcomes. Applications of nanodevices or nano based systems include chemical/biosensors and gas sensors, infrared detectors, space science, fuel cells, flat panel displays etc. This moves on to the abuser gaining complete trust from the child and being actively involved in the child’s activities while at home, with respect to school, play and so on. Scores of people were uprooted they had to leave behind all their material possessions and move on to be relocated. What he believed was that if the innovative product was really good, then where wouldn’t be risk associated with the product. After they completely digested it, farmers will be collecting them, wash them, and get them ready for fermentation. Many people including family, friends, and other members of the community are often there to promote the passage. The basic goals or the aim of social engineering is almost same as hacking in broad sense: to gain unauthorized access to system and exploit it. The origins of shisha, or also known as hookah came from the north western provinces of India. The government training institutes are very few in number and they follow an age old curriculum. Soy bean oil primarily consists of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s) and studies have shown that PUFA intake is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and glycemic control. Walden University Grammar Handbook

The Serial Comma

It was not classified as an anabolic, or synthetic, steroid in the United States until 2004, after the time McGwire had used it. This proves that there are countries and places around the world which try to keep their own “traditional patterns”. To supplement country's poor finances, which was one of the critical cause of the revolution, National Assembly collected all the church property. After the evaluation of the need for the policy is quantified, the next important steps are based upon having an understanding of actual application in terms of cost. There are three main types of stem cell transplants a patient may receive; autologous, allogeneic or syngeneic. Harter and Moore, (1965) derived a remarkable form of the maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) for ϑ using the type II censored data. The Nature, Extent and Economic Impact of Fraud in the UK Michael Levi, John Burrows, Matthew H. This investment enabled new technologies to enter the production process, to expand and renew the capital stock, and to sustain economic growth. Having access to sexual material broke the chains and freed millions of people controlled by paternalist and moralist social structures. This implicit trust is what makes the reader vulnerable and easy to be fooled by ill-intentioned authors. One major issue common among these impoverished countries is their lack of education regarding environmental conservation. University of Illinois Grammar Handbook In this time period, Willy attains a mistress that he attends to when in Boston during a business trip. Mere informers and secret agents are not, however, included in the term, because they are not “officers of Government whose duty it is as such officers” to give information of offences. Furthermore, this is the main purpose of the project; to analyze briefly the linguistic variations among Costa Rican population. In 1992 Starita returned to Nebraska and began working on a book project highlighting the Lakota. Time is spent in highly productive meetings resulting in 40% of respondents strongly disagreeing and 60% disagreeing that they have plenty of time to get everything done.

The Oxford comma

The destruction was immense and many places were taken over by the Viet Cong supplying them with more guns bombs and ammunition. In well off countries such as the United States, we have an abundant access to almost any kind of commonly used human resource, whether it be food, transportation, or utilities.Wade that the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. Our since of smell is linked with the amygdala part of the limbic system in the brain. According to Small Business (2010), "The term target market is used because that market is the target at which you aim all your marketing efforts. An object appears white when it reflects all colours and appears black when it absorbs all colours. Judging from their analysis of this clay, the scientists concluded that the element was made available as a result of the ejecta from a blast made by an asteroid approximately 6 to 9 miles across when it hit the Earth. Moreover, we can cite that talent management is more than the management of a group of individuals, which varies for each employee. Another way church members are manipulated is that they are scared into staying with the church. These two along with 9 other baseball players and executives testified at a congressional hearing on steroids. It was found that the X type of steel bracing significantly contributes to the structural stiffness and reduces the maximum interstorey drift of the frames. Time space compression or deterritorialization are other terms that can be used in place of globalization, meaning that social activities are stretching across the world and that territories and locality doesn’t matter anymore. Charlie Hebdo not only takes advantage of that right of freedom of expression, but it takes it to the limit and has been recognized by Islamists as attacking Islam directly in its publications. The University Business Students (UBs) of Angeles City, Philippines who are examined in this study, represent underrated players in International Relations: the common, everyday people.

The Serial Comma

In fact, American railway and bus transport systems are much better than in Japan, but the main transport method for citizens is private car. Entering the soft drink industry is very difficult for any other new company because of the established brand name of it. The key arguments made throughout this article expresses the use of technology predominantly Facebook and the effects it contributes to people mental functioning associated to Facebook use.What is now known for mostly residential buildings was once an area known for its lush greenery that served for farming and an escape from New York’s early financial leaders--eventually serving as a key point in the American battle for independence. Modigliani and Miller (1958) originated the “theory of irrelevance” whereby they stated that the firm value is irrelevant to the use of capital structure under the assumption of the existence of a perfect market.During the prophet’s time, the temporary informal marriage was not prohibited until the end of ‘Umar’s caliphate and the practice are still acceptable to some Shi’s up-to-date. It is believed that purposes of sustaining high growth and low inflation would be achieved by adopting this Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) (Pakistan, 2006-2007). The appellant was thus; an officer in the service or pay of the Government performing as such a public duty entrusted to him by the Government and was therefore, a public servant within the meaning of Sec. He feels like he should not have done it and wonders how he was ever talked into killing Duncan. However, over the past 200 million years, on an average 1-2 species per year and 3-4 families per million years are extinct. Although, the United States is a culturally diverse society, there is a dominant culture and others give up their culture (depending upon where they may live) so they can fit into mainstream society. Many studies have indicated that parental involvement is important to the success of various educational and intervention programs (Granger, Rivieres-Pigeeon, Sabourin & Forget, 2012; Hastings & Johnson, 2001; Neymotin, 2013; Solish & Perry, 2008).

Example sentences using the Oxford comma

With the use of fly ash, it also improves the texture of bricks and increases the internal burn-ability of the green bricks due to the presence of unburnt carbon inside the bricks. Studies conducted by Lam (1998), show that “high level of mutual trust among irrigators is associated with high level of irrigation system performance: mutual trust enhances system performance by counteracting irrigators' incentives to free-ride and ignore the operational rules” (cited in Kahkonen 1999, p.10). Endurance tested reliability: Porsche cars are renowned for its hardiness in the racetrack throughout the company’s history.When you know that they truly love you, and that you can count on them always, everything else is less important. This procedure produced a maximum of one effect size per domain of executive function per study. It is estimated to be 750 premature deaths from respiratory diseases every year due to the emission of PM 10 and PM 2.5 (fine PM) from the clusters of approximately 530 kilns in Dhaka, Bangladesh (World Bank 2011). In this case are quantified in the conduct several stages in the same monument, encountered very often in conservation-restoration works of wooden churches. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a supposed attack on two US Navy destroyers by the DRV that led to President Johnson and congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of the manufacturing sector, the country can adjust the structure of their industry. Such a professional may take advantage of the situation and use the information of the customers. The article talked about rapes on college campuses but also mentioned that it can happen anywhere. An example of intraregional migration would be a citizen of the Bahamas that lives in West End, Grand Bahama migrating to Freeport, Grand Bahama. These people instead, start retreating into their own world and become isolated from everyone and everything around them (Bereska). Any program may be considered AI if it does something that we as humans would normally think of as intellectual. Guide to Grammar and Style

Other articles you may find helpful

Should I use 'flier' or 'flyer'?

Should I use 'ax' or 'axe'?