Coppell Observer: The Oxford Commanist Manifesto

Srihari Yechangunja, Design Editor

Journalism discourages the use of the Oxford comma. However, The Sidekick design editor Srihari Yechangunja thinks the Oxford comma should have a place in journalistic writing. Noor Fatima

Coppell Observer is a humorous column about life as a teenager in a cult. Please be warned that any and all sass is due to the writers’ similar situation as adolescents (even though we feel so much older). You, the reader, should not take any of these words to heart. Seriously. If this article makes you laugh, leave a comment.

Before I begin, I would like to point out that my views on comma conventions do not reflect the views and policies of The Sidekick on commas.

Yes, you heard me right. In a newspaper that actively suppresses the users of Oxford commas, I have stepped up to defend its usage.

The Sidekick follows the style guide published by The Associated Press, which indicates that the Oxford comma shouldn’t be used in journalistic writing. But it absolutely should.

Though I bear the risk of being targeted by The AP, I declare that the Oxford comma is, in fact, necessary.

Of course, I don’t want to disrespect the non-Oxford commanists for their clearly terrible stance on comma usage, but I can hide no longer.

This is the reason why the Oxford comma is better: it avoids ambiguity.

“I always love it when I get to talk to my dogs, John and Jack.”

You could interpret this sentence as me enjoying talking to my dogs, who are named John and Jack. But it could also mean I enjoy talking to my dogs and two people named John and Jack. Adding in an Oxford comma clears up ambiguity. 

Wait. What if I did have two dogs named John and Jack? Then adding the comma wouldn’t make any sense. Eh, it doesn’t matter. 

I don’t have dogs anyway.

One of my responsibilities as the design editor of The Sidekick is to edit graphics to be posted on or on our social media accounts. I’ve loved every second of being in this position this year.

That being said, there have been several instances in which I have had to ask a designer to remove an Oxford comma. Each time I have had to do so, a little part of me died inside. I might be good at hiding it, but other staffers cannot possibly understand the pain I go through each time I type out the comment, “Remove the Oxford comma in the second sentence” on an unsuspecting designer’s graphic. When I go home after committing such a sin, I contemplate upon what poor choices in life I made that led up to that point, such as learning English or being born.

But the pain doesn’t stop there. Each day, I walk into D115 (The Sidekick newsroom) to find, among the rest of our adviser’s tchotchkes, a mug with the words “Team Oxford Comma” imprinted on it. A newcomer may see this mug and assume that The Sidekick is a place that encourages the use of the Oxford comma, a safe environment for burgeoning Oxford commanist students. But the mug makes a mockery of those who are simply of a different opinion pertaining to comma usage. Alas, as they will later find out over the course of the year, those who use the Oxford comma are subjected to the immense and hateful criticisms from the leadership team and adviser in an environment silencing those attempting to speak up against such tyranny. But it is my life’s goal to actively fight against authority in the form of Big Comma.

The leadership team and the staff of The Sidekick know me as a friendly person. But what they don’t know is that I don this facade to rid suspicion of my true purpose in life: the conversion of my fellow people to Oxford commanism.

Almost everything I’ve ever done in The Sidekick has been for the sole purpose of spreading the Word of Oxford Commanism. The time I spend in class? Making pamphlets to post around the school. Page design? A way to hide secret codes within pages to communicate with my fellow Oxford commanists.

I am willing to go all the way to show my loyalty to the cause; I have gone through every single post on and added Oxford commas wherever necessary (which is everywhere)…manually. That’s right: I spent 150 hours (because the 15th letter of the alphabet is O) going through each and every one of the almost 15,000 posts on CSM and adding the sacred comma. How did I get the time for this, you ask? Well, remember that time in January when I was absent for a week and a half, when I was “sick”


Note that this Manifesto does not, in fact, contain any Oxford commas in order to slip it past the editors of The Sidekick

That’s all they look for.

Follow Srihari (@_fgmx) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.