September 26, 2011
When you are listing a series of items in a sentence, you separate them with commas, but should there be a comma after “and” and before the last item in a series? Most Americans are taught to omit that last comma as unnecessary — part of the general high-school-teacher-urging with regard to commas, “when in doubt, leave it out.”
Oxford University Press, however, has long championed that final comma: so much so, that its use has come to be known as “the Oxford comma.” Last last spring, there was a brief agitation when it appeared that Oxford might abandon the Oxford comma; but it turned out to be a misunderstanding. The Oxford comma stands strong.