M.G. Herron

The Oxford Comma Makes a Funny

To be honest, I didn’t know “Oxford Comma” was a phrase people used to refer to a serial comma until this past summer when I heard it in this Vampire Weekend song.

Whether I have selective hearing or I’m just late to the party, since I heard it for the first time I’ve experienced a weird serendipity that brings the phrase back around to me at least once a week in every day conversation. What’s worse, I’ve noticed how infrequently the serial comma is used.

Take this little gem, for example:

Hah! Life sure is funny sometimes.

Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is clearly in support of the serial comma (Elementary Rule of Usage #2 here), and although they reference the Oxford University Press, the phrase “Oxford Comma” is never applied.

As with every rule, there are exceptions. The above quote certainly isn’t one of them.

But it’s good for a laugh.

Learn more about grammar do’s and don’ts by reading these three essential style guides for new writers.