The Old Oxford Comma Debate
The Oxford Comma stands as a particularly debated grammmatical issue. It's polarized, to be sure. Those in support are adamant that there is no other way. Those against it are equally vehement that they hold the correct stance on that contentious comma. So what's the breakdown on that little squiggle anyway? Let's get into it, shall we?
What is the Oxford Comma?
The Oxford Comma is that little comma that goes in a list, right before the word and. People in favor of the much-debated comma will appreciate a sentence written like this:
My favorite authors are James Joyce, Ray Bradbury, and TS Eliot.
On the other hand, a person opposed to the comma will prefer to see it written like this:
My favorite authors are James Joyce, Ray Bradbury and TS Eliot.
The only difference is the presence or lack of that little comma. But, oh, it causes so much uproar and debate among the grammatically inclined. So let's dig in!
Those in adamant support of this little mark (such as myself, you'll find, if I ever work on any of your writing) attest that the comma lends clarity. In sentences such as Let's eat bacon, eggs, and toast. Without this comma, the sentence would be unclear, sounding as if the eggs and toast were together, but the bacon was somehow different. Now, I recognize bacon is pretty much holy food, and thus, perhaps it should be set apart. That is not, however, the debate I am entering into here. This debate is only about a comma. Not the pure joy of bacon.