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The Fascinating History of How the Much Maligned Oxford Comma Came Into Use

Vox video producer Phil Edwards took an informative look at Oxford comma, digging into the history of the source of one of the most contentious and ongoing punctuation battles. What he learned while researching the subject is that the Oxford comma does not come from Oxford, but instead from the mind of 19th century British philosopher Herbert Spencer, who felt it was crucial in “marking out the elements of a thought.”

The Oxford comma is a grammar geek’s obsession, and it turns out to have an unusual history behind it. The mark got its start thanks to the advocacy of Herbert Spencer, a scientist/philosopher/generalist who believed it was more efficient and clear. He also came up with the term survival of the fittest. This is how it happened…

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