FiveThirtyEight partnered with SurveyMonkey Audience to ask the age-old question that grammarians love to debate: Who uses an Oxford comma? But rather than poll the linguistic experts, the statistical website wanted the everyday American to weigh in.
Also known as a serial comma, the Oxford comma is the comma that comes before the word “and” in a series, as in:
- It’s important for a person to be honest, kind and loyal. (no Oxford comma)
- It’s important for a person to be honest, kind, and loyal. (Oxford comma)
Let’s take a look at the highlights:
- 57% of Americans prefer to use the Oxford comma.
- 63% of those who prefer the Oxford comma rate their grammar as “excellent” as compared to 37% of those who do not use the Oxford comma.
- Younger Americans overwhelmingly prefer the Oxford comma—79% of 18-29 year olds.
- 79% of Americans prefer to use “data” as a singular noun, as in “data is” rather than “data are.”