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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Oxford Comma Dropped: University of Oxford Styleguide Says No To Serial Comma

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06/...

I think this makes sense to me. Comments?

message 2: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) | 3207 comments I was reading about this yesterday, and it makes sense to me, too. In college, we were re-trained not to use the oxford comma.

message 3: by Brittomart (new)

Brittomart *cues Vampire Weekend*

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Me too. That's going to be a hard habit to break.

message 5: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments I love the oxford comma! I’ll still use it, I don’t care. Well, no one is going to be reading my writing anyway.

The only part of this debate that I’m curious about: How much are these people being paid to sit around and discuss oxford commas for months on end? I’m not complaining, but I’d like to know how to get their job.

message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I wonder if there were lobbyists involved. I'd like to be the Oxford Comma's lobbyist.

message 7: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments Finally I'm ahead of everyone else! I've never used an oxford comma.

message 8: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I'd take that job, Helena, if they provide me with lots of wine to numb the boredom.

message 9: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments Janice wrote: "I'd take that job, Helena, if they provide me with lots of wine to numb the boredom."

Oh, yes- wine would certainly help!!

message 10: by Annie (new)

Annie (agrunwe) But I love the oxford comma. I get miffed when it isn't used... it just interferes with my reading rhythm, y'know. Messes up my flow.

message 11: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
They're not dropping the comma.

This blew up yesterday when there was a rumbling that the University of Oxford was dumping its own comma. As it turned out, this wasn't the case. They haven't changed their authoritative style guide, but they've changed their internal PR department procedures that they use for press releases. The PR department and the editorial department are two different things, so this doesn't necessarily mean much of anything, except that it's maybe a little embarrassing to have the PR department of the university with which you're affiliated abandon your style guide.


"Going, Going, And Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma Is Safe ... For Now"

message 12: by Scout (last edited Jul 11, 2011 08:45PM) (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3434 comments Yep, pretty embarrassing.

My college grammar teacher taught us that the final comma should be dropped. Then, when I was a student-teacher, my supervisor corrected me and told me to insert the final comma.

Since that experience, I've decided that commas are the most ambiguous of punctuation marks.

This especially applies to the current practice of inserting commas before the words and and but in sentences such as the following:

Lady Gaga was bullied as a teen, and makes it a point to inspire young people today to be proud that they were "born this way."

Richard Wright was born into poverty, but eventually used his experiences to become a great writer.

Grammatically, the comma shouldn't be there, but if you read almost anything today, you'll see it used this way.

message 13: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 171 comments I just get the hang of when and where to use commas and they change things. *sigh*

message 14: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments Scout. my English teacher, Sister Mary Angela, would have marked my paper with thick red crayon if I had used a comma before the word "and" or "but".

message 15: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I never knew that last comma was called an Oxford Comma until I started reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves, but I've been using it for years and will continue to do so. I think it eliminates confusion.

message 16: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) Without the Oxford Comma, that phrase reads "Eats", "Shoots and Leaves". "Shoots and Leaves are one item. At least that's what I was taught in school.

message 17: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 171 comments I looked over my daughter's homework (content good, punctuation made me dispair!) and she definitely needed the Oxford Comma to clarify her sentence.

message 18: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments I went to catholic schools. No matter the subject, all the teachers marked off for spelling errors and grammatical errors.

message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I don't think they teach much about writing now like they used to.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Did anyone else see this story about the Shatner comma?

Goodbye, Oxford comma? Hello, Shatner comma!

...What's good about a Twitter kerfuffle is that while it might be full of outrage and disappointment -- I myself retweeted the sad but inaccurate news -- it is also full of people who can see the bright side. Even the bright side of a punctuation's ostensible demise. One such, writer Everett Maroon, was quoted by the Atlantic: "Professor friend o mine is against losing the Oxford comma, but wishes his students would lose the Shatner comma. You, know, what, he means."

The Shatner comma! That, is, you, know, a really, fantastic, idea.

See, the problem people have with the Oxford comma is that it puts a pause where some think one doesn't belong. The idea is that "I went to the market to get triple sec, limes and tequila" is better, or more modern, than "I went to the market to get triple sec, limes, and tequila." And the Shatner comma? It, does, nothing, but, put, pauses, where, they, do, not, belong.


I happen to be very fond of the Shatner comma...

message 21: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Are those the ones they use out in space?

message 22: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
The Shatner comma is a terrible thing...sometimes the New Yorker uses it.

message 23: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3434 comments I like the Oxford comma, the Far Side cartoons, and the New York skyline.

Who can say that that final comma isn't just perfect?

message 24: by Annette (new)

Annette Hart | 171 comments Thanks, Lobstergirl, I have a real desire to create a character just so I can use the Shatner comma in his speech (it would just have to be a man - with a penchant for lycra).

message 25: by Annie (new)

Annie (agrunwe) Leslie wrote: "I don't think they teach much about writing now like they used to."

They don't seem to. I don't think I've ever been in a class where they taught grammar. I was taught by family friends and my grandparents, because even my own mother doesn't seem to know proper grammar.

message 26: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments My daughter had to write a bunch of essays to apply for scholarships and she had me edit them. It seems like there was so much she hadn't been taught. She makes good grades and has taken English, but it just isn't part of what they teach the kids anymore.

message 27: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
The grammar pendulum is beginning to change direction. It was out of favor for a while in hopes of nurturing students artistic freedom and willingness. Now that's bombed and they're back to rules.

message 28: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Hopefully it will settle in the middle and kids will have both the artistic freedom to express themselves and the tools to do it well.

message 29: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod

I want to take this copyeditor's extra comma and shove it up his ass.

message 30: by janine (last edited Mar 20, 2012 04:00AM) (new)

janine | 7715 comments ::trips over comma, crashes into the other one::

message 31: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
Did it fall out of his ass?

message 32: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3434 comments Woefully wrong.

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