The Oxford* Comma is often mistaken for a grammatical tool, but is more properly a stylistic one. It should be used where it is appropriate to that purpose:
- Lists of items related to elevated matters, moral correctness, and upper-class cultural markers should include it.
- The three cardinal virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity.
- Whilst at Fortnum & Mason’s, Aloysius purchased Earl Grey tea, oatcakes, and raspberry jam.
- The living room contained an Axminster carpet, an upright piano, and a senile vicar in tweeds.
- Constructions regarding the vulgar, the tasteless and the reprehensible should not use it.
- The man was convicted for stealing a television, a mobile phone and a car.
- The trades union office was stocked with instant coffee, powdered milk and tea bags.
- The televangelist said that women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.
- Sentences that are inherently unclear, or contain a mix of the profound and the profane, should be rephrased to avoid the issue.
- I would like to dedicate this book to my parents, and to acknowledge Ayn Rand and God for their influence on its composition.
- In addition to the Telegraph, the newsagent sold copies of the Sun and the Daily Mail.
* More properly, the Shrewsbury comma, since its use at Oxford University Press is derived from the style guide introduced at that College.