Visual aid for the final serial comma

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If you ever have trouble remembering a minimal contrast for the final serial comma, a.k.a. the Oxford comma, here's a little visual help:
Oxford CommaStrippers, JFK, and Stalin
(via Jeff Bishop)


  1. Tal Cohen said,

    September 18, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    But contrast that with using the Oxford Comma on the singular:

    * We invited the stripper, JFK and Stalin.
    * We invited the stripper, JFK, and Stalin.

    Now it's the comma that introduces the oddity.


  2. Sili said,

    September 18, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    I maintain that the distinction you try to make is a spurious one invented by US high-school teachers for mysterious reasons of their own.

    Plenty of those working for Oxford University Press, I'm sure.

    Look. I hate the serial comma as much as the next guy, but learn to do some research before spouting off like this. This is hardly a new subject on LL, let alone the Internet.

    [(myl) Thanks, Sili. I deleted the original comment, since the essential bit is preserved in your quote. After an appeal from Suzanne Kemmer, who's on a train to Nagoya, I've closed comments on this thread and deleted a few other existing comments for irrelevance, rudeness, lack of substantive or amusing content, etc.

    In trade, here's a link to an earlier LL post which has 34 mostly relevant, civil, and informative comments, along with some useful links to posts elsewhere (and to Vampire Weekend's Oxford Comma anthem): "Merle Haggard's ex-wives", 10/24/2010.]

  3. Steve Kass said,

    September 18, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    [Shameless plug for the Cereal Comma.]

  4. lukys said,

    September 18, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    Solution: Speak Lojban!

  5. Carl Offner said,

    September 18, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    The joke I've always heard in this respect is about the student who dedicated his thesis to "my parents, the Pope and Mother Theresa."

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