Is the Oxford comma necessary?

The Oxford comma (a comma placed before the final item in a list of three or more items) is optional. It is not an error to leave it out. “Salt, pepper, and vinegar” and “salt, pepper and vinegar” are both grammatically correct.

Different style guides have different recommendations about using it. Most academic style guides (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) recommend using the Oxford comma consistently, so this is typically the best approach in academic writing.

Note that the earlier commas in a list are not optional: “salt pepper and vinegar” is not grammatically correct.