Oxford Comma is a Waste?

Lily Christensen
Picture Credit: andrewpagoda.com


For the people who have never heard of an Oxford Comma, it is a comma that is used immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or) in a series. It is also known as a serial comma. For example: In Jeff’s backpack, he carries a book, a pen, and an eraser. The Oxford comma is the comma right after “a pen”. This comma is not required, technically it is optional, all up to you, and whatever you prefer. But I am here to tell you, this comma is futile, pointless, and should never be used unless under special circumstances that require that a comma is in place.

The Oxford comma has no right to be in writing. The majority of the time, it is an unnecessary mark, a literal waste of ink. Even though it is optional, why keep it when everyone can discard it? When it is somewhat helpful in specific circumstances, you could just add it in. Most often the case is that there is no need for it to be attached. Sydney Ward, an eighth grader attending Salem Junior High School states her opinion, “The Oxford comma helps distinguish lists and makes a piece of writing look more polished, professional, and complete. It also properly distinguishes between compound and singular terms.” It may distinguish between singular and compound in some cases, but it can be useless altogether as long as you use a little rephrasing. It also doesn’t make a writing look “complete”, it makes a writing look as if it is carrying an unwanted and unwelcome mark. Not only that, if this comma is used constantly it can force hesitancy or confusion in the reader’s head, and slow down the pace of reading. All because of an expendable mark.

Some might argue that the Oxford comma is necessary to keep sentences orderly and intelligible. For example: I love my friends,  Adam Sandler and Olaf. Some might say that without the Oxford Comma this could be interpreted as you love your friends, who are Adam Sandler and Olaf. Although this is a good argument, if you rephrase this poor sentence it would be just as effective as using an Oxford comma.  Amy Huhtala, and English teacher at Salem Junior High, explains how in some cases the Oxford comma should be used to separate ideas, but when Huhtala was growing up, like many others, they were not taught to use it in school. Recently however, many teachers and students do prefer it, and in some cases they count it as incorrect if you don’t add it in. They should not use it because the coordinating conjunction is there for a reason, to take the place of the comma so there is no use for it. That is all.