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(Mental Floss)   A look at the secret war being waged across the globe, one whose outcome will have a lasting effect on all our lives: the Oxford Comma War   (mentalfloss.com) divider line 42
    More: Interesting, Oxford comma wars, Best Shots, Oxford comma, Oxford University Press, James Thurber, Old Glory, Chicago Manual of Style, New York Herald Tribune  
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2013-10-31 08:52:27 AM  
Con: "Those at the ceremony were the commodore, the fleet captain, the donor of the cup, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Jones."

This example from the 1934 style book of the New York Herald Tribune shows how a comma before "and" can result in a lack of clarity. With the comma, it reads as if Mr. Smith was the donor of the cup, which he was not.



It doesn't read that way at all to me.
 
2013-10-31 09:01:24 AM  
Fact: One of the only distinguishable characteristics of the Anti-Christ will be his absolute refusal to use an Oxford comma.
 
2013-10-31 09:02:48 AM  
It's a convention. There's no right or wrong answer. Just pick one and go with it.
 
2013-10-31 09:04:52 AM  
Fact: Properly used Oxford commas have saved the Earth from alien invasion in at least three documented instances.
 
2013-10-31 09:04:56 AM  
This business will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.
 
2013-10-31 09:06:34 AM  

SurfaceTension: It's a convention. There's no right or wrong answer. Just pick one and go with it.


There is.  The problem is with the purists that insist on sticking to one convention. Its use or non-use should be situational based on the context the writer wishes to convey.

I think my uncle, Jack, has something to say about it.
 
2013-10-31 09:07:08 AM  
Fact: The extra ink used to type Oxford commas is a critical element in maintaining an appropriate worldwide ink supply. A sudden imbalance could lead to wild price fluctuations, economic collapse, and war.
 
2013-10-31 09:07:09 AM  
I don't think I've met a single editor or writer who gives f*ck one about this either way. This is the kind of thing only quote-unquote "linguists" and senior citizens care about. In other words, the unemployed.
 
2013-10-31 09:08:07 AM  
Fact: Commas are essentially tiny phalluses, and the Oxford comma increases the chances of a sentence seducing your potential love interest by approximately 32 percent.
 
2013-10-31 09:10:34 AM  
Fact: Edward J. Snodgrass, former editor of the Snodgrass Review, once accidentally typed two Oxford commas right beside each other. He has not been seen since
 
2013-10-31 09:11:39 AM  

Sybarite: Con: "Those at the ceremony were the commodore, the fleet captain, the donor of the cup, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Jones."

This example from the 1934 style book of the New York Herald Tribune shows how a comma before "and" can result in a lack of clarity. With the comma, it reads as if Mr. Smith was the donor of the cup, which he was not.


It doesn't read that way at all to me.


Yeah,  figure out at a better way to write that one. It's a crap example. It's better if you're dealing with phrase where "and" is part of it. Like this: The sandwiches offered were peanut butter and jelly, turkey and swiss, and ham and cheddar.The Oxford comma will keep you from looking like an idiot when you try to order a turkey and cheddar.
 
2013-10-31 09:14:13 AM  
Fact: Commas are designed to provide readers with spaces to breathe while reading. Reading-related asphyxiation deaths increase by approximately 17 percent when Oxford commas are not employed.
 
2013-10-31 09:16:44 AM  

Pocket Ninja: Fact: Commas are designed to provide readers with spaces to breathe while reading. Reading-related asphyxiation deaths increase by approximately 17 percent when Oxford commas are not employed.


Hey now, you got a little close to reality there. . .
 
2013-10-31 09:18:55 AM  

doyner: The problem is with the purists that insist on sticking to one convention. Its use or non-use should be situational based on the context the writer wishes to convey.


This ^.

Well put. I don't know why people can't understand this.
 
2013-10-31 09:30:01 AM  

the_rev: doyner: The problem is with the purists that insist on sticking to one convention. Its use or non-use should be situational based on the context the writer wishes to convey.

This ^.

Well put. I don't know why people can't understand this.


Grammarians vs. Linguists

/actual ones, not the fake one who don't know what linguistics is
//I would have gotten a degree in English composition, NOT literature, if they had offered one, but I still like Linguistics
 
2013-10-31 09:32:35 AM  

Peki: fake one

s

Doesn't mean I can grammar though, especially recently. . .

/I seriously need to put my degree away. It's embarrassing.
 
2013-10-31 09:50:15 AM  
I would like to thank Pocket Ninja for shedding the hard light of facts on to this debate.
 
2013-10-31 10:10:25 AM  
You know, I came in here to post a few little known facts about the Oxford comma, but it appears I have been beaten to the punch by Pocket Ninja,  Pocket Ninja, and Pocket Ninja.
 
2013-10-31 10:15:10 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: You know, I came in here to post a few little known facts about the Oxford comma, but it appears I have been beaten to the punch by Pocket Ninja,  Pocket Ninja, and Pocket Ninja.


What you did there, I see it.
 
2013-10-31 10:27:41 AM  
Oxford comma forever, ever, and ever.
 
2013-10-31 10:30:21 AM  
subby, the HEADLINE is the stage upon which you are to work your clever magic.

I am utterly disappointed, discouraged and leaving.
 
2013-10-31 10:30:32 AM  
Not using it is moronic and things are unclear  There is not argument, just lazy people who don't want to be clear.
 
2013-10-31 10:31:12 AM  
Let's be pointlessly confusing in order to type one less character.
 
2013-10-31 10:32:46 AM  
Gif vs jif is worse
 
2013-10-31 10:33:05 AM  

SurfaceTension: It's a convention. There's no right or wrong answer. Just pick one and go with it.


Why pick one? Use whatever style you want. These contrived examples of ambiguity are ridiculous. If your sentence is ambiguous, REWRITE THE MOTHERF*CKER. English is a natural language, if you can't deal with it then start writing in Lojban. Grammarians need to stop pretending they are programmers.
 
2013-10-31 10:33:18 AM  
rlv.zcache.com

Thread
 
2013-10-31 10:33:22 AM  
Hey Subs! You realize that colon should be a semicolon, right!
 
2013-10-31 10:34:10 AM  
Who gives a fark about an Oxford comma?
 
2013-10-31 10:34:52 AM  
Does this include usage of comma to the top?
 
2013-10-31 10:37:05 AM  

ZeroPly: Why pick one? Use whatever style you want. These contrived examples of ambiguity are ridiculous. If your sentence is ambiguous, REWRITE THE MOTHERF*CKERrewrite the motherf*cker. English is a natural language,. iIf you can't deal with it then start writing in Lojban. Grammarianssts need to stop pretending they are programmers.

 
2013-10-31 10:37:27 AM  
Take this note from the governor at the last minute:

Pardon, Impossible to execute.

v.s.

Pardon impossible, to execute.
 
2013-10-31 10:39:01 AM  
there is a difference between helping your uncle, jack, off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
 
2013-10-31 10:40:05 AM  

vudukungfu: Take this note from the governor at the last minute:

Pardon, Impossible to execute.

v.s.

Pardon impossible, to execute.


Why would I wait to take it from the governor at the last minute?  If I took it earlier we would have time to clarify any questionable content in it.
 
2013-10-31 10:40:46 AM  

sigdiamond2000: I don't think I've met a single editor or writer who gives f*ck one about this either way. This is the kind of thing only quote-unquote "linguists" and senior citizens care about. In other words, the unemployed.


My mother, who is a retired editor so both unemployed and a senior, HATES commas. After 4 decades at Houghton Mifflin, she came to the conclusion that most punctuation is stupid and fussy and just gets in the way of a clean read.

I'm of the same mind the older I get. If it's not necessary for comprehension, why bother? To prove you know the rules?
 
2013-10-31 10:47:03 AM  
It's not the punctuation that confuses the issue, it's those pesky words in between. Really good writing consists of nothing but punctuation.
 
2013-10-31 10:48:00 AM  
The people who don't use Oxford commas are idiots, ignoramuses and aesthetes.

The people who don't use Oxford commas are idiots, ignoramuses, and aesthetes.

Those are two very different sentences.
 
2013-10-31 10:49:08 AM  

ginandbacon: My mother, who is a retired editor so both unemployed and a senior, HATES commas. After 4 decades at Houghton Mifflin, she came to the conclusion that most punctuation is stupid and fussy and just gets in the way of a clean read.


It seems to be entirely personal, too. Where I need a comma is not where another reader might need one. Worse; reading aloud requires different punctuation than reading silently. And don't even get me started on semi-colons (like the one in the previous sentence, which I hate).
 
2013-10-31 10:50:57 AM  

Eric The Pilot: there is a difference between helping your uncle, jack, off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse.


Exactly, its why you capitalize proper names.  Such as after reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, it would hold two distinct meaning if I announced:

Man, I really like Dick.
or
Man, I really like dick.
 
2013-10-31 10:51:52 AM  
Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon...
You come and go, you come and go...

/ducks
 
2013-10-31 10:57:58 AM  

Aidan: ginandbacon: My mother, who is a retired editor so both unemployed and a senior, HATES commas. After 4 decades at Houghton Mifflin, she came to the conclusion that most punctuation is stupid and fussy and just gets in the way of a clean read.

It seems to be entirely personal, too. Where I need a comma is not where another reader might need one. Worse; reading aloud requires different punctuation than reading silently. And don't even get me started on semi-colons (like the one in the previous sentence, which I hate).


True fact: women like semicolons and men hate them. As soon as I learned that, I stopped using them.
 
2013-10-31 11:20:00 AM  
Semicolons are cool; they make mini-sentences.
 
2013-10-31 11:47:47 AM  

the_rev: Semicolons are cool; they make mini-sentences.


But only with related ideas; jumping off to an unrelated assertion would be terrible.
 
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