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The Oxford comma is a comma before the final item in a list. For example, it’s the one after “toast” in this sentence:  “We had eggs, toast, and oatmeal for breakfast.” If you left out the Oxford comma, it would read “We had eggs, toast and oatmeal for breakfast.”

It’s also called the “serial comma,” and there’s a big article about it on Wikipedia. Why? Because there’s an ongoing squabble among writers and grammarians about whether one should use it.  A summary of the issues at hand is in the Wikipedia article, to wit:

Common arguments for consistent use of the serial comma:

  1. Use of the comma is consistent with conventional practice.
  2. It matches the spoken cadence of sentences better.
  3. It can resolve ambiguity (see examples below).
  4. Its use is consistent with other means of separating items in a list (for example, when semicolons are used to separate items, a semicolon is consistently included…

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