I realize that as a writer, punctuation errors tend to jump out at me. It’s truly a part of my brain I cannot dial down. In our tech savvy world with so many quick ways to communicate, punctuation seems to get left in the dust. Some people rationalize that sacrificing punctuation is an acceptable casualty in our modern Get It Done Now world.
And if you ask a group of delivery drivers from a Dairy in Maine, punctuation is very important; especially the serial comma. The serial comma is also known as the Oxford comma due to its style rulebook endorsement from the Oxford University Press written decades ago. The Oxford comma separates three or more items. Best further explained directly from The Oxford Guide to Style, 2nd edition…
The importance of the Oxford comma is clear. Without it, specific items or terms tend to blur together, can lead to confusion, and cause misinterpretation. (See what I did there…)
I’ve never seen it cause a ruckus, other than in the editing world perhaps. But in the case of the Dairy lawsuit mentioned above, a simple comma is the only thing standing in the way of paid overtime for some hardworking delivery drivers.
I personally use the Oxford comma, but I have worked with companies that prefer not to. And that’s ok. I always work within the client’s style guidelines, or I’ll help develop a style guide if one is requested.
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