A University of Oxford Writing and Style Guide has decided that writers should, “as a general rule,” avoid using the Oxford comma. Will you miss the good old fashioned serial comma?
Here’s an explanation from the style guide: “As a general rule, do not use the serial/Oxford comma: so write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used – especially where one of the items in the list is already joined by ‘and’ [for example]: They had a choice between croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli.”
Although we don’t know exactly when the rule was posted, Ranty Editor called our attention to the debate with an opinionated tweet this morning: “Oxford Style Guide ditches the Oxford comma. I have strong feelings about this, none of them good.” Be sure to watch Vampire Weekend’s “Oxford Comma” video as you ponder the rule change. (Via Don Linn)
UPDATE: Reader Michael Williams adds this clarification: “That’s the University of Oxford PR department style guide. Oxford University Press is a commercially and editorially autonomous organization.” Read more clarification here.