Why Everyone Is Talking About Therese Coffey And The Oxford Comma

Therese Coffey has sparked an angry backlash after telling healthcare workers to stop using the Oxford comma.

In case you were wondering, an Oxford comma is a punctuation mark used by some people after the last item on a list and before “and” or “or”.

The new health secretary and deputy prime minister’s office issued the bizarre edict in an email to staff in the Department of Health and Social Care and the UK Health Security Agency.

Coffey’s office also told workers to “be positive” and stop using “jargon” in their written notes.

But it was the minister’s insistence on avoiding the Oxford comma which has led to criticisms of her “patronising” approach.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter users were especially unforgiving.

One – using an Oxford comma – said: “Therese Coffey can take a running jump, give her head a wobble, and get in the bin.”

Others said Coffey should concentrate on improving NHS performance rather than staff’s grammar.

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