Oxford Comma- Whether to use it or not

What is the Oxford Comma?

The Oxford Comma, also called a serial comma or series comma, is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more things. For example, a list of three beverages might be punctuated either as “tea, coffee, and lemonade” (with the Oxford Comma), or as “tea, coffee and lemonade” (without the Oxford Comma).

The opinion on whether the Oxford comma should be used is divided. Although it is called Oxford comma, it is relatively less used in British English than in American English. A majority of style guides in American English mandate use of the serial comma including the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. Some British style guides require it, including The Oxford Style Manual.

Whether the Oxford Comma should be used.

-Many writer and editors are for its use.

Reason: It resolves ambiguity.

-Many writers and editors are against its use.

Reason: It creates ambiguity.

How in some cases the oxford comma brings in ambiguity, and also how in an many cases it resolves the ambiguity surrounding a statement.

Examples:

Resolving Ambiguity

To my friends, John and Ricky.

Some people may interpret the above mentioned statement as ” John and Ricky are the friends of the writer, and he is addressing to them.”

Some people may interpret the above mentioned statement as “the writer is addressing to his friends along with John and Ricky”.

If we place a comma right after JOHN, all ambiguity shall disappear.

To my friends, John, and Ricky.

It is now clear that the writer is addressing to his friends along with John and Ricky.

Creating Ambiguity

To my friend, John, and Ricky

Some people may interpret the above mentioned statement as “the writer is addressing to his friend John along with someone called Ricky .”

Some people may interpret the above mentioned statement as “the writer is addressing to his friend along with two other people named John and Ricky .”

So, in order to avoid any ambiguity, some legends advocate to construct the statements like:

To Ricky, John, and my friends.

Unless you’re writing for a particular publication or drafting an essay for school, whether or not you use the Oxford comma is generally up to you. However, omitting it can sometimes cause some strange misunderstandings.

Who’s against and for its Use

Generally, the Oxford comma has been neglected mostly by newspapers , magazine and tabloids, where strict character breaking points are required in the restricted bounds of printed segments. There is no consistency in its utilization or exclusion when taking a gander at authentic writings (it’s been utilized for a considerable length of time, however individuals have likewise been discarding it for a considerable length of time), yet today, its utilization is for the most part more regular among American style guides than it is among British ones. The Times and The Economist, for example, are both against its utilization. Some outstanding American aides, for example, The Chicago Manual of Style support it, however there are remarkable exceptional cases, for example, the Associated Press Stylebook. Others, for example, The Guardian, are more adaptable, contending that it ought to be utilized just as a part of circumstances when it is required to stay away from equivocalness. Curiously, numerous dialects — including French, German and Italian — don’t utilize the Oxford comma by any means.