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The Oxford Comma

Discussion in 'Tea Room (Book Chat)' started by Angel, November 26, 2019.

  1. Angel

    Angel Munificent Critic

    A question on grammar that I have been considering and am now asking for opinions?

    Of course, by asking for this I am well aware that this post will contain at least one, if not more, grammatical errors merely for commenting on the subject at hand.

    I know there are several style guides out there that don't require it and I consider this a small folly.

    For example: I like my two dogs, Churchill, and Thatcher

    Or without the comma: I like my two dogs, Churchill and Thatcher.

    In the former sentence it's referring to two dogs and two people. In the latter it's two dogs named Churchill and Thatcher.

    Some people would say that it should be written as: I like Churchill, Thatcher and my two dogs.

    But to me this changes the order of my preference as it would imply I prefer the two PMs over the two dogs when that simply isn't the case.

    I suppose I could add an adverb to highlight the fact, but that's another construct frowned upon and a topic for another day.

    So what say you? Yay, or nay, to the Oxford Comma?
  2. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    Reminds me of the joke about the panda with the gun, or the one about the Koala and the prostitute.

    Either way it came down to "Eats, shoots, and leaves" vs "Eats shoots and leaves".

    All hail the comma for totally different meanings.
  3. Terry

    Terry Active Member

    I always have trouble with commas, either adding too many or not adding enough.

    I find myself doing what newspapers do and re-writing it so you don't need them. I'm not writing anything fancy so as long as I can get the point across, it's doing it's job.
  4. CatInASuit

    CatInASuit Administrator Staff Member

    You could always take the one author route and dumb the sentences down so they work for children and have no nuance or subtlety at all.

    Then you never have this problem. :scheming:
  5. Lily

    Lily Member

    My vote goes to the Oxford comma. I already knew about my tendency to overuse commas but then my boss finally asked me to cut back on them after one too many reports containing an abundance of the blasted things – or should that be overabundance? Anyway, it's a daily struggle.
  6. sliara

    sliara Active Member

    I think the second one without the comma is more correct, in my opinion. The first sentence, I think the comma is superfluous. I tend to use commas sparingly and just place "and" instead of using a comma if I enumerate 2 things.
  7. luri

    luri Member Scribe

    I noticed how the meaning changes just by using a comma in different places. I cannot say which one is more appropriate as I use English as a foreign language and yet to explore the nuances of the language just like the examples given.
  8. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    Both of them fit a situation, it just depends what meaning you want to give.

    Have a look at some legal fun and games if you want to see how commas can change the entire meaning of contracts and cost people millions of dollars if they get it wrong.

    How about these two :
    I love my parents, President Clinton and President Obama

    I love my parents, President Clinton, and President Obama

    In the first, without the comma, my parents are two presidents of the USA. ::rofl::
    With the comma in the second it makes a lot more sense. :D
    Lily likes this.
  9. Hova

    Hova Member

    Definitely cut down on the commas.
  10. atry

    atry Active Member

    This sounds like what Reader invented the term "comma shotgun" for. It was something like

  11. Terry

    Terry Active Member

    Is that where you have a sentence that runs over five or six lines and is nothing but comma after comma after comma?
  12. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    It is when, in some, unfortunate, circumstances, an auther, or other creator, forgets that the comma is a tool, a form of punctuation, designed to elucidate meanings, and even to clarify sentences, words, and clauses, for the comprehension, and reading pleasure, of the reader, those read to, and others who may peruse the work, and instead of deploying the semi-colon, the colon, or even the venerable, terminal, full stop, use in their place the comma to the exclusion of every other option, so seperating list items, phrases, terms, and definitions to and extent which, in my humble opinion, and so, so, many others, makes the page resemble a target shot by buckshot, if the aforementioned buckshot was, instead, created, tooled even, to be akin to commas in form.

    When, they, simply don't, decide, to place them randomly, within the text.
  13. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis Active Member

    Wow. William Shatner-style!
  14. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    I'm not totally sure seeing as my grammar is not the greatest, but that looks like a complete sentence over 7 lines.

  15. Tregaron

    Tregaron Active Member

    For 'Outstanding', read 'terrifying'.

    That hurt to read.

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