December
10th 2013
A case for the Oxford comma (as if it needs to be made in the first place.)

Posted under: bad language, fluff, GLBTQ, weirdness

Love at first sight! Now that would be a big news day.

I had never heard of “the Oxford comma,” but apparently it’s just a serial comma, the use of which many find duplicative. However, it can clarify the meaning of a sentence: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs, boys, and girls,” versus “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs, boys and girls.” To me, NOT using the serial comma makes sentences look like a spreadsheet formula with a missing parenthesis, but to each his own however stupid or illiterate it looks I guess.

Without the Oxford comma, you’re marching to hell. (I’m just sayin’.)

7 Comments »

7 Responses to “A case for the Oxford comma (as if it needs to be made in the first place.)”

  1. sister of ye on 10 Dec 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    When I’m writing (my unlikely to be published novels), I prefer to omit the comma before “and,” but that example shows that it can be useful.

    In that line, one my delights of this season is the catalogs that flood my mail. (Yes, I know, YMMV.) Some of the the more “geek”-oriented ones feature T-shirts that assert “commas save lives” and give the example: “Let’s eat, Grandma” versus “Let’s eat Grandma.”

    Cracks me up every time I see it.

  2. Susan on 10 Dec 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Thank you for a little light relief. The Oxford comma is indeed your friend. I’ve actually considered one of those geeky tee-shirts for people on my Christmas list who feel strongly about things like that.

  3. Katherine on 11 Dec 2013 at 5:29 am #

    I’m inviting to dinner my parents, the Pope and Mother Theresa.
    vs
    I’m inviting to dinner my parents, the Pope, and Mother Theresa.

  4. Historiann on 11 Dec 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I think there was a book recently about how correct punctuation choices save us from humorous or disturbing sentences: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, illustrated by a Panda holding a smoking gun (vs. “Eats shoots and leaves.”)

    Harumph! Let’s eat grandma, indeed!

  5. Flavia on 11 Dec 2013 at 8:05 am #

    I guess you’re telling us that you also don’t know this song:

  6. Flavia on 11 Dec 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Hm. Didn’t embed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1xk07o4g

  7. Indyanna on 11 Dec 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    I never heard it called the Oxford comma before. I just heard it called “how you use commas.” It was about the only thing I ever got right about commas in the view of Miss Davies, who once wrote on an English paper of mine “you have no conception of the logic of the comma…” Which I would have amended to “[I] have some, slight, conception of the logic of the comma…”