The Oxford comma. AKA, the serial comma.
You know, as in “red, white, and blue.” That comma before the “and.”
It provides the assurance of clarity.
And it’s the new addition to the UNCG Style Guide for internal and external communications.
It’s probably the most attention paid to a punctuation mark on our campus since Academic Affairs’ Paula Andris, flanked by Mareb Mossman and Elisabeth Zinser at a 1986 retirement reception, was presented the hyphen from “UNC-G” and told that if the university administrators ever wanted to restore the hyphen to UNCG, they’d have to find her. (See clipping.)
The debate over the Oxford comma in recent months has been, ahem, punctuated by concerns for consistency and concerns for clarity.
It wasn’t just a debate among UNCG communications professionals. It’s a national debate. Just Google it. Or check out hashtag #teamOxfordcomma.
UNCG will continue to use AP Style. With this big exception. (Or we should say, a comma-sized exception.)
Now if we can just settle the “more than” vs. “over” national debate.
By Mike Harris