Who Gives A %#!& About An Oxford Comma?

Written by on October 29, 2019

In the poetic words of Vampire Weekend, “Who gives a [crap] about an Oxford comma?” (I have taken the liberty to use softer language in the quote, but if you would like to fill in the blank, go listen to the song) 

To me, there are much more pressing things to debate than a tiny mark on a piece of paper. Climate change perhaps? Gun control in America? Immigration policy? But if we must, then here it goes.

From an early age, I have had issues with all forms of the comma. In every sentence structure practice, every essay and every note passed in class, my use of the comma was incorrect. When I arrived at high school the only comment written in red would be along the lines of “review comma rules”. Do you not think that I have tried? Toiled away for hours, attempting to figure out if I needed a comma in that one sentence in paragraph four?

I have always been a decent writer but my comma placement, or lack thereof, tends to muddle the pond. Although there are only four types of commas, in my head I created at least twenty different scenarios in which I needed one. Each one holding a unique weight within the sentence. “Why?” I asked myself countless times. And the answer is simple: the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is the reason for all my confusion. When do I use it? When don’t I? Why does it even matter?

 Within the world of journalism, I have been taught to avoid the Oxford comma at all costs. In school, the fate of the Oxford comma landed in the hands of each individual teacher. Some had a burning hatred for the tiny scratch on paper, while others deemed it necessary for academic writing. 

In the opinion of a Kent State fashion major, the presence of an Oxford comma in your next essay will not cause you to burst into flames. Our pocket-sized brains are quite capable of using context clues to decipher the meaning behind a sentence. So go ahead and add it to your grocery lists, poetic musings, and honors colloquium essays. 

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