Masculinquiries: Defending punctuation

The Oxford comma should not just be allowed, but encouraged

Emily Wright, DN
Emily Wright, DN

Matthew Yapp is a senior communications major and writes “Masculinquiries” for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. 

What is the Oxford comma? 

The Oxford comma is many things: a tool, an asset, a totem of things lost by our impatient society. If you’re unaware, the Oxford comma is used after the final item of a list of three or more. It is used for clarity and has overall never caused any harm to anyone ever, but has saved many sentences in its humble existence. 

AP style doesn’t believe in using the Oxford comma, but in my opinion, AP style is wrong. 

If you don’t use the Oxford comma it is extremely easy to lose the intention of a sentence. If I were to write “I love my parents, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Flash” you could very easily read that as if I was brought screaming into this world by the queen of pop and the greatest superhero of all time. While that is a big fantasy of mine, it is not the case. Writing “I love my parents, Carly Rae Jepsen, and The Flash” paints a much more realistic and understandable picture. 

Many have spoken out about how using the Oxford comma is useless, saying it is a “waste of time,” among other egregious titles. I argue, however, our society has gotten too wrapped up in saving time. No one is patient anymore, everyone is always going. The Oxford comma offers you the chance to stop, take a breath, and appreciate the world around you. 

Being in a constant rush is incredibly unhealthy, as well. As someone who has taken a physical fitness and wellness class and tried yoga once, I think I’m more than qualified to say that the Oxford comma would be good for your heart. Allow yourself to rest. 

On top of that, I would like to call into question why we blindly follow AP style. Just because this constantly criticized, bourgeoisie-style guide says we can’t use the Oxford comma doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. 

At this point it’s really just my word against AP style and you have no reason not to listen to me over them. 

Not too long ago, I told a friend he should stop wearing cargo shorts, and he listened, thankfully. He would later be accepted into graduate school, and I like to think his outfit change had quite a bit to do with that. So, clearly listening to me results in good fortune. I’m not sure listening to the AP Style Guide has gotten anyone anything other than some journalism awards or other nerd things.

Don’t listen to a style guide that is updated and sometimes changed once a year. Instead, listen to me and use the Oxford comma all you want. It will improve your writing, your attitude, and your life.

Contact Matthew with comments at


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