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Duplicate of another approved link: 7551531


(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 9
    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 10:40:46 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:40:05 AM  
1 vote:

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 10:33:05 AM  
1 vote:

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 09:30:01 AM  
1 vote:

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 09:18:55 AM  
1 vote:

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 09:11:39 AM  
1 vote:

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 09:07:09 AM  
1 vote:
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 09:06:34 AM  
1 vote:

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 08:52:27 AM  
1 vote:
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.
 
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