Save the Oxford Commas

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Friends, I come to you today with a great sense of urgency.

The Oxford commas are dying. If we don’t take action, they may soon become extinct forever.

Signs of their demise have been appearing for years. We all know it. Yet, we turned our backs and pretended not to see. We turned our backs and said, “Someone else will take care of this. Someone else will save the commas.”

“Someone else” never showed up, my friends — someone else never shows up. The only question left is what we should do now.

Morally deformed writers have been avoiding the Oxford comma for centuries. Even worse, many have taken to actively calling for the extermination of this essential grammatical species. Go to any library, any bookstore, and you’ll find literature’s white pages stained red with the blood of their misdeeds.

At least two national governments have taken to officially endorsing the wholesale slaughter of the Oxford comma, with both Canadian and Australian style guides declaring the little curly mark to be “unnecessary.” May their national sins be writ forever in the annals of history, and shame cast upon their memories and the memories of their children and the memories of their children’s children.

The fact is that we cannot rely on politics to solve this issue. If the Oxford comma is to be saved, we must take that mission on as our own.

I urge all of you to grab hold of this chance to be heroes. Use your Oxford commas. Embrace them. Protect them.

If we don’t take responsibility for preserving this precious piece of punctuation, then we will one day find ourselves in a world choked by idiotic sentences like, “He wanted to try the cherry, the lemon and the cookie dough.”

Look at that sentence again. Read it out loud. Listen to how utterly idiotic it sounds. How unbearably ridiculous it is. How it sounds like you’ve gotten too impatient to pause before “cookie dough” and decided to just let the words dribble out of your mouth like orange soda from the lips of a yokel gone slack-jawed in mid-drink at the arrival of a traveling circus.

No. Don’t stop. Don’t turn away. Go — go read that sentence out loud again. Hear how maddeningly stupid it sounds coming out of your mouth. Is that what you want for your world? Is that what you want for your children?

I think not, friends. I think not.

Stop standing on the sidelines. The time is now to save the Oxford commas. Do nothing and you risk looking back someday and recognizing yourself as one of the nameless rabble who allowed your nation to continue down this slippery slope into grammatically depravity.

Be one of those who stands up and says, “Enough is enough. There’s a comma before cookie dough. It’s called the Oxford comma. It’s a proud, noble comma. It matters. It cannot be erased. Not on my watch.”

No quarter can be given, my friends. No quarter at all in the war for the Oxford comma. Choose your side now…and fight.