Image: Philippine Primer

‘THE OXFORD COMMA’

Many of you might not have heard about this.

Let me give you an example. Consider the following sentence:

‘I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.’

Do you see any grammatical mistake in this sentence?

How will you interpret the above sentence? One possible interpretation is that the person writing the sentence loves the three:

His parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty.

But wait a second!

Another alternative and factually correct interpretation of the above sentence is that Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty are the parents of the person writing the sentence and he/she loves them.

To avoid this confusion, there should be another comma introduced in the sentence and the correct version becomes:

‘I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty.’

The comma written after Lady Gaga is known as ‘The Oxford Comma’ and it makes the complete sentence.

Some other similar examples of usage of the Oxford comma are written below:

She took a photograph of her parents, the president, and the vice president.Those at the ceremony were the commodore, the fleet captain, the donor of the cup, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Jones.

Author: Yemi Olarinre