The Oxford comma; a great debate. It’s something you either love or hate.
If I come off as waxing poetic about such a trivial thing, it’s only because I am passionate about it. You see, I’m an avid user of the Oxford comma. Many editing programs offer their suggestions to remove the tiny character when it is deemed unnecessary, but I won’t allow the red squiggly line to dictate for me what is fundamental punctuation.
Is it really such a big deal? Oh, my goodness! Yes!
I love my cats, chocolate, and ice cream.
Now you know that I love my cats as well as chocolate and ice cream. If I remove my Oxford comma, it changes the phrase and the reader now thinks that my cats are named ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Ice Cream’ (we won’t get into the intricacies of capitalising proper nouns—let’s pretend I’m not a grammar nazi).
I love my cats, chocolate and ice cream.
Of course, the sentence can be rearranged to make better sense, but a simple comma strategically placed makes the phrase perfectly coherent.
It’s safe to say that I often mentally insert Oxford commas into sentences I read. It gives me pause, as is its intention. It forces a reader to slow down and enunciate words with clarity, rather than skimming along, uttering sounds that vaguely resemble the English language.
Our society has become lazy. Our desire to expedite tasks has resulted in a slew of conversational acronyms like BRB and IDK (granted, I use some of them myself from time to time, LOL). Understanding that, when I take the time to write a piece that I feel deserves a reader’s full attention, I want to make sure that they slow down, take a pause, and see each beautiful word in its entirety.
After all, I would rather people understand that I like bacon, eggs, and juice, not bacon, eggs and juice (juicy eggs? Yech!). But, it’s totally fine—you eat all the juicy eggs you like!