A Fun Read about Punctuation

From NPR “Monkey See…”

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



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8 Responses to A Fun Read about Punctuation

  1. Jaypo says:

    All hail the comma! *bows and kisses grammar book*

    I just wrote a memo where I had to use semi-colons. HAD to, because the commas couldn’t carry the weight of that list on they tiny legs. It felt good and smart. No misinterpreting that memo.

  2. AuntieBellum says:

    Heck yeah! I love me some serial comma!

    Seriously, sometimes I need a third punctuation mark, in addition to the comma and semi-colon.

    What did the article mean about using “literally” to mean “figuratively,” though? I know about people using the word incorrectly, but the only examples I can think of are where the word is not being used to mean “figuratively,” it’s just plain extraneous.

  3. madtante says:

    That author would LOVE my “grammar.” I was taught to use the serial comma. I was broken from it working at my current job (some 15 years ago).

    I’m a graphic artist, though, right?

    Well, we work on logos that go on promotional products–meaning things get PRINTED as devices to convince others to buy/ use their products/ services. It’s a big deal. My belief, is that the continual stuplification of American English is the case here. Them stoopid arses can’t be bothered with any learnin’ (or as the author said “outdoors types”), so we had to give up the Oxford Comma, even if it’s absolutely necessary sometimes.

    “Stop making sense.”

  4. When I worked at a newspaper, we had to use the Associated Press style book, which said no comma after the next to last item in a series. Since I was taught old-school by my very tough high school English teacher, dropping the Oxford comma was difficult: my editor, who also very tough and had been in the business for centuries, would scream at me, “NO COMMA! STOP USING THE F**KING COMMA!”

    I quit the newspaper business after two unhappy years. In retrospect I’m glad, given the number of people I knew from those days who are now unemployed or are working at a fraction of what they used to earn. But I can’t help gloating that it might be because they signed their own death warrant by encouraging people to read and use bad grammar.

  5. kimkiminy says:

    It was beaten into me in grade school: the last comma is irrelevant because the word “and” separates the last item from the list. I cannot make myself do otherwise, except, as the article points out, when it is necessary for clarity.
    I also hate “irregardless”!

  6. amyhftw says:

    Count me in the anti-serial comma camp. It drives me batty. Unless it’s used correctly in a complex series and you need to make a distinct separation.
    On the whole, I love punctuation. And the flexibility of the English language.

    • amyhftw says:

      That said, my jobs have always been AP-style dependent. Even though, it just looks sloppy when you have too many commas mucking up the joint.
      I had to laugh at her snark with the People Who like to Capitalize. In German, all nouns are capitalized. In English, STOP! JUST STOP!

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