The Incontestable Superiority of the Oxford Comma #12

In a previous article, I alluded to a particular problem with failing to use the Oxford comma in three-word lists: Some syntactic arrangements result in a noun immediately preceding a list, which makes the veritable listness of the list uncertain. The example sentence used was, “In the midst of chaos, terror and despair were beacons of hope.” That’s the inferior version, of course.

But as the omniscient deity that is Lord Oxford Comma descended upon me recently, He exhibited yet again His limitless benevolence by enlightening me with another possibility. The above arrangement can exist with other types of phrases as well, namely direct address.

The following is a popular image embodying this instance. Well, it’s popular among people who spend a few hours each morning looking up various tidbits concerning the Oxford comma, which is a noteworthy demographic, I’m sure.Anyway:

oxford comma1

For a more reasonable (a.k.a. boooring) example, “I invited Jeff, Joe and John.” Evidently, this lack of clarity can arise in numerous instances, making it all the more pernicious if that final comma is absent.

This article is too short.

You know who had very feminine handwriting? John Quincy Adams. Seriously, this is his signature:


This entry was posted in Oxford Comma. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s