Stop Saying The Oxford Comma Is Not Important

Stop Saying The Oxford Comma Is Not Important

I'm talking to you, Vampire Weekend.

Dear Grammarians, all English teachers, users of AP style, college students everywhere, and Vampire Weekend,

Welcome to college, where you’ll encounter a multitude of people who fail to understand the difference between to/too/two, there/their/they’re, your/you’re, and the importance of the Oxford comma. Being forced to edit my peers’ papers has made me realize how many people fail to understand simple grammar and how privileged I am to have gone to a Catholic school followed by another private academy where grammar was drilled into my head each and every day.

Now you may not know what the Oxford comma is, as it also goes by the name “serial comma” and “Harvard comma.” Many people fail to see why the Oxford comma is so essential, especially journalists, as writers and journalists are often forced to conform to AP style and therefore must omit one of the most essential forms of punctuation behind the period. I’m convinced that the reason AP style omits the Oxford comma is solely for the purpose of conciseness rather than clarity. Writing without the Oxford comma simply makes a writer seem uneducated and careless, even if AP style requires you to neglect it.

In case you don’t know or in case you’ve forgotten, the Oxford comma is the second to last mark of punctuation in a list of three or more items and before the written conjunction, such as “broccoli, peas, and carrots” rather than “broccoli, peas and carrots.” In complete honesty, omitting the Oxford comma for the sake of typing an example shoots chills down my back. Neglecting the Oxford comma simply changes the meaning of a sentence altogether. For example:

Failing to include the Oxford comma implies that JFK and Stalin were strippers. Now, I’m not a history buff by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m pretty sure that the thirty-fifth President of the United States and the leader of the Soviet Union were NOT strippers. That example alone should convince you that the Oxford comma is nothing short of essential to proper writing, but just in case you’re not fully convinced yet, let’s look at another example:

Once again, I’m not a history buff; however, I know FOR A FACT that the first and the sixteenth Presidents of the United States were not rhinoceri. How would they have run the country? Rhinoceri don’t even have opposable thumbs.

At the end of the day, I’m not going to change AP style; in fact, I am incapable of changing AP style, no matter how badly I desire to. The rest of what I write will conform to leaving out the Oxford comma; however, in my heart and in whatever I write for academic papers will include the Oxford comma. All of my English teachers taught me the proper use of the penultimate comma and I choose to honor my education and continue to not just include the Oxford comma but embrace it. So to all English teachers, users of AP style, college students everywhere, grammarians, and Vampire Weekend, I care about the Oxford Comma.


Julianna Reynolds
College student, biology major, and strong proponent of the Oxford comma

Cover Image Credit: Business2Community

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Removing Toxic People From Your Life

You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being.

Unfortunately, toxic people are always going to be present and coming into your life. There are many ways to deal with them and they can be represented by several characteristics. However, it is your personal choice when deciding what to do with them. Do you let them stay in your life and keep taking more than they give? Or, do you cut them out of your life?

Toxic people look just like any other person on the outside, but they are usually narcissistic and overbearing on the inside. They can appear to be friends, family, peers or even college roommates. Toxic people are typically greedy and manipulative. They make you think that they care about you when really, the fact is that they only care about themselves. They are not going to be there to congratulate you on your personal victories because inside they just want to see you fail to make themselves look better.

Toxic people never apologize for what they have done that was wrong, especially if it is something that hurt somebody else. Sometimes, they tell fibs about what happened and they are far from the truth. Finally, toxic people bring back irrelevant information to arguments and hold everything that you have ever said against you.

All of these characteristics are those of a toxic person or somebody that you hopefully do not want in your life. Now, the question remains, what do you do with them? My advice to you is to cut them out of your life and move on. Eventually, you realize when enough is enough with somebody and you cannot handle them mistreating you any longer.

Always remember that you are allowed to leave those who have hurt you. You are allowed to be selfish sometimes when it means taking care of yourself. You do not, and I repeat, do not, owe others an explanation for doing something for the betterment of your own well being. What some people have a hard time realizing is that it is okay to want to make yourself happy.

You should not have to quietly sit there and smile while other people are walking all over you. You are a human being, and you have a right to let someone know that they are hurting you and that they need to stop doing so. You are allowed to set boundaries when people are overstepping and making you feel uncomfortable.

Whether you take my advice or not, I am confident that you will make the right decision in regards to dealing with toxic individuals. However, just trust me when I say that once you can, and choose to recognize and erode the toxicity of these awful beings, you will see an array of positive changes in your life and overall well being.
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The National School Walkout Day Is Important Because Staying Silent Is Not The Best Option

We must make our voices known.

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