Posted by: episystechpubs | May 10, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Oxford Comma

An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.

Well, you’ve certainly heard from me about the Oxford comma (aka the serial comma). One of the first articles I wrote was about six years ago, “No Comma Drama.” A couple of years after that, I continued to fight, this time in “Comma Drama.”

For those of you coming to the Editor’s Corner more recently, the rule we use here is to “use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series.”

Here are the two options, using the joke above:

  • An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk and smoking cigars. (Only one comma in the list; not in agreement with the JHA Style Guide.)
  • An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars. (Our preferred way of doing things according to the JHA Style Guide.)

And here is a new example (to me) of why you should definitely use the extra comma:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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