The Oxford Comma is something that I feel strongly about. At school, I was taught that it was optional and my teachers never penalized me for not using it in essays. That could have been it for me and the Oxford Comma, but then I decided that I was passionate about writing. So suddenly, here I am, having editors and Grammarly shove the Oxford Comma down my throat until I began pooping them out in all my pieces.
Why I Hate It
Now don’t get me wrong, I fully understand why the Oxford Comma is useful. I’ve seen the memes and I will be sharing them in this article – you can thank me later. But let’s be honest. If this was a Mean Girls movie, the Oxford Comma would be the fugly slut. A text with too many commas just doesn’t look right. Plus, it makes people lazy, not to mention dumb. It’s like only reading the title of an article and making assumptions about the content.
The Oxford Comma takes away people’s ability to think critically and consider context. It also gives writers an excuse to write run-on sentences full of gibberish. If there is confusion on whether Stalin and JFK are partying with strippers or if they are strippers, the issue isn’t the lack of a comma. It is either the reader’s lack of common sense or the writer really messed up.
Although I’m sure Stalin could pull off some sexy nipple tassels, fishnets and high heels. OMG are the heels tangled in the tights? No. Well, maybe… the point is, IT DOESN’T MATTER. The point is that we now have an image of Stalin in stripper clothes. If this was in a novel, sure, we’d want details. But we don’t need to over-explain every single thing we write just because today’s society is like a toddler discovering the world for the first time. “Why, how, when, huh?” doesn’t matter if the only purpose is for the reader to picture a general concept. No one is asking what color the tassels are, so why does every other detail need to be clarified with an oxford comma?
About The Oxford Comma
Aldus Manutius (also known as Aldo Manuzio) was a 15th-century Italian printer who introduced the comma as we know it as a way to separate things. The word comma comes from the Greek word koptein, which means “to cut off.” The Oxford comma has been attributed to Horace Hart, printer and controller of the Oxford University Press from 1893 to 1915, who wrote Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers in 1905 as a style guide for the employees working at the press.
“Regardless of who actually invented the Oxford comma, its purpose is to make a sentence clear, unambiguous, and understandable. So why does it also make people enraged, perplexed, and confused?
Many style guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Association (APA), and American Medical Association (AMA), recommend the use of the Oxford comma to prevent ambiguity.
Yet others, including the AP style guide, Canadian Press (CP) style guide, and (shockingly) the University of Oxford style guide itself, use the Oxford comma only when a sentence could be misinterpreted by the reader without it.
Here’s the problem, though, for those who do not consistently use the Oxford comma: when writing a sentence, you don’t always realize that what you’re writing could be misinterpreted. This is demonstrated quite clearly in the Maine lawsuit case above.
For most people, this ambiguity won’t cost you $10 million. But it might cost you clarity, time, or reputation.
Why not use the Oxford comma, just to be safe?”Scribendi
The Oxford Comma is, in my opinion, useless and has no place in writing. While I understand why people use it and advocate for it, I think we could live happy lives without it. If you’re writing something that’s confusing enough to make people wonder what you’re talking about, then you need to rephrase it and add some context. That is just my opinion, and you are welcome to argue. I won’t change my mind. The only thing I don’t hate about the Oxford Comma is the controversy, the debates with grammar Nazis and memes. Yes, I debate with memes. Or do I?