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Wanted: Serial Commas

Lynne Truss mentions the infamous "Oxford comma" in her book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a mark of the English language which I have always cherished.

Unfortunately, it seems to me like few of the people I know share my love for this sneaky sentence-stopper. Even the student-produced newspaper for Seton Hill University, the Setonian, kicks this poor punctuation point to the curb, choosing to leave nothing but open space and the word 'and' between the last two items of a comma-cut list.

I'm not sure what anyone could have against the poor little Oxford; maybe most people were just never given enough exposure to it early on in their grammar studies. I wonder if it is our education or our personal taste that lead us to choose one method of punctuation over the other... Or perhaps both?

What do you think? Do you punctuate according to the ways you were taught, or did you develop your writing style on your own? Were you influenced by a particular teacher or author who preferred a style that you are for or against?


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Even the pros don't know all the contents of the AP Stylebook. But if you're part of a culture that values looking it up, you'll make fewer mistakes.

As our guest speaker to Media Lab said, knowing your AP Stylebook is the best thing you can do to help yourself get an internship or an entry-level job related to journalism.

As long as you are consistent in your use (or omission) of the serial comma, I won't mark either one as wrong -- unless it hurts the meaning of the sentence.

I have the opposite problem. I'm so used to not using the comma from last year that I need to remind myself to use it in papers for class.

I know what you mean... I was kinda frustrated to learn that the Setonian doesn't allow Oxford commas. I've always used them, so it's hard for me to remember to mark them while copy-editing articles.

I think I'm going to try writing an article for the paper, soon... Hopefully I can remember all of the Setonian's style rules.

I was always taught to use the Oxford comma. The AP Stylebook, however, says not to use it. I must say, learning that that comma wasn't necessary led me to question everything I've ever learned...

Ok, no it didn't. But I know I still accidentally put it into my articles. *hides from Neha*

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