Is the Oxford comma restricted to the use of "and"? Or can/should it be also applied in sentences with "or"?

  1. I would choose physics, mathematics or biology.
  2. I would choose physics, mathematics, or biology.
  • 1
    number 2, always use the oxford comma.
    – Yeshe
    Aug 16, 2015 at 18:41
  • 3
    @Yeshe 'Opinions among writers and editors differ on whether to use the serial comma.' (Wikipedia) ... 'This practice is controversial and is known as the serial comma or Oxford comma, because it is part of the house style of Oxford University Press.' However, The Oxford University guidelines ... for staff writing press releases and internal communications ... have dropped the recommendation that the comma be used (except where not to do so would give rise to ambiguity). You seem to have a higher authority. But what it is, I'm not sure. Aug 16, 2015 at 18:49
  • 1
    @Yashe Don't phrase opinions as if they were binding rules. Aug 16, 2015 at 19:03
  • 5
    I think you should be consistent. If you use an oxford comma then always use it. Otherwise, never use it. Except if it's a direct quote. Aug 16, 2015 at 19:04
  • 1
    @Elliott Frisch Certain style guides recommend its use solely where it disambiguates. Aug 16, 2015 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


The comments so far haven't answered your question. There's quite an extensive explanation of the ins and outs of the Oxford or serial comma here.

You'll notice that the writer of the article says that "a serial comma or series comma (also called Oxford comma and Harvard comma) is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and, or, or nor) in a series of three or more terms."

So in answer to your question, the Oxford comma is not restricted to and.

  • Not being a native speaker I was a little too much impressed by the amount of information in this Wikipedia article. Thanks for pointing out the important points. Aug 17, 2015 at 0:10

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