The Reading / Listening - Oxford Comma - Level 1

The U.K. left the European Union on January the 31st. It voted to leave three-and-a-half years ago. The U.K. made a special coin for the occasion. People are arguing about the punctuation on the new 50-pence coin. It has the words: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" on it. A writer is unhappy. He thinks the punctuation is wrong. He said there should be a comma after the word "prosperity". This kind of comma is called an Oxford comma.



The Oxford comma is called the serial comma in the USA. It is used before the final "and" or "or" in a list of three or more items. People say an Oxford comma is unnecessary on the 50-pence coin because the meaning is very clear. A word expert said the Oxford comma helps to understand the writer's meaning. A woman said the comma wasn't important. She tweeted: "It doesn't matter if there is a comma or not. The most important thing is that there is peace."

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Oxford Comma - Level 0 Oxford Comma - Level 2   or  Oxford Comma - Level 3

Sources
  • https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10835240/what-oxford-comma-examples-how-use/
  • https://abcnews.go.com/International/commemorative-brexit-coin-sparks-oxford-comma-debate/story
  • https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/oxford-comma-does-the-brexit-50p-coin-have-a-grammatical-error-1-5081991


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. It voted
  2. The U.K. made a special coin
  3. People are arguing about
  4. friendship with
  5. He thinks the punctuation
  6. He said there should
  7. after the word
  8. This kind of comma is called
  1. be a comma
  2. all nations
  3. an Oxford comma
  4. for the occasion
  5. "prosperity"
  6. the punctuation
  7. is wrong
  8. to leave

Paragraph 2

  1. The Oxford comma is called the
  2. It is used before the final
  3. in a list of three
  4. People say an Oxford comma
  5. the meaning is very
  6. helps to understand the
  7. It doesn't matter if there is a
  8. The most important thing is
  1. is unnecessary
  2. or more items
  3. clear
  4. writer's meaning
  5. serial comma in the USA
  6. that there is peace
  7. "and"
  8. comma or not

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

The U.K. left the European Union on January the 31st. It voted to leave three-and-a-(1) ___________________. The U.K. made a special coin (2) ___________________. People are arguing about the punctuation on the new 50-pence coin. It (3) ___________________: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" on it. A (4) ___________________. He thinks the punctuation is wrong. He (5) ___________________ be a comma after the word "prosperity". This (6) ___________________ is called an Oxford comma.

The Oxford comma (7) ___________________ serial comma in the USA. It is used (8) ___________________ "and" or "or" in a list of three (9) ___________________. People say an Oxford comma is unnecessary on the 50-pence coin because the meaning is very clear. A (10) ___________________ the Oxford comma helps to understand the writer's meaning. A woman said the comma wasn't important. She tweeted: "It (11) ___________________ there is a comma or not. The (12) ___________________ is that there is peace."

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

TheU.K.lefttheEuropeanUniononJanuarythe31st.Itvotedtoleavethr
ee-and-a-halfyearsago.TheU.K.madeaspecialcoinfortheoccasion.P
eoplearearguingaboutthepunctuationonthenew50-pencecoin.Itha
sthewords:"Peace,prosperityandfriendshipwithallnations"onit.Awri
terisunhappy.Hethinksthepunctuationiswrong.Hesaidthereshouldb
eacommaaftertheword"prosperity".ThiskindofcommaiscalledanOxf
ordcomma.TheOxfordcommaiscalledtheserialcommaintheUSA.Itis
usedbeforethefinal"and"or"or"inalistofthreeormoreitems.Peoplesa
yanOxfordcommaisunnecessaryonthe50-pencecoinbecausetheme
aningisveryclear.AwordexpertsaidtheOxfordcommahelpstounderst
andthewriter'smeaning.Awomansaidthecommawasn'timportant.Sh
etweeted:"Itdoesn'tmatterifthereisacommaornot.Themostimporta
ntthingisthatthereispeace."

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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