According to this GalleyCat blog post, the Oxford comma has been officially dropped by Oxford University. I’ve used it for years, argued its case with unbelievers, and now it’s been read its last rites.
But what is this comma so many people have never heard of, and certainly won’t mourn? It’s the comma that takes the confusion out of lists within a sentence.
GalleyCat quotes the Oxford PR style guide to explain: “‘As a general rule, …write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used – especially where one of the items in the list is already joined by ‘and’ [for example]: They had a choice between croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli.’”
Personally, I like the Oxford comma. But its loss is part of our evolving language, and it does eliminate the need to explain that part of my editing process. So it can’t be all bad…can it?