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It’s often and accurately said that punctuation is a reader’s roadmap.

Its symbols are more than mere details in a presentation. When deployed properly, they help to convey credibility and authority, two traits that are essential to an e-commerce entrepreneur wishing to make both a first and lasting impression on readers.

Take them lightly at your peril. They present clarity to your readers, and thus show your respect for their time.

If you fail to heed this advice, one of them — the comma — has a way of exacting revenge.

In particular, the Oxford comma will not be dissed:

Actually, the Oxford comma has quite a history to accompany its apparent legal prowess:

While it’s accurate to say, then, that the Oxford comma is an alpha dog in a grammar nazi’s survival of the fittest, even that crowd admits to a touch of ambiguity every now and then:

Right now, you’re probably falsely reassuring yourself that the Oxford comma is too esoteric to come after you.

Let’s say you’re making a special offer on your website or blog and you’ve written something like this:

Choose from a free upgrade, $20 off and a 10% discount!

As with the dairy case above, a prospective customer could well interpret that as two choices instead of three:

Choose from a free upgrade, $20 off, and a 10% discount!

If you’ve dealt with the public for any length of time, you know there’s someone like that out there.

Do you really want to hassle with an upset customer and, most likely, his or her friends in the same niche where you’ve got a reputation to uphold?

Didn’t think so. Stuff happens. Respect the Oxford comma.

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