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The Oxford Comma

kenny

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma

The Oxford comma, aka serial comma, is that last comma in a list of things.
Some consider it to be optional . . . but leaving it out can lead to misunderstandings.

With.png

Without.png
 

VRBeauty

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I like to include it, on the theory that it indicates all the items in the series are equivalent (wouldn't want to hurt any of their feelings, after all). My work is routinely returned to me with that last comma removed. Oh well.

Maybe if I attach that illustration next time...
 

Haven

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Kenny, where did you find these images? I want to credit the source.
 

galeteia

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Haha!

I am a bit of a jerk when it comes to the oxford comma ... I forced a colleague of mine to learn it after I found out he was attending college. He later foisted it onto his professor, much to my delight! :twisted:
 

JewelFreak

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I love Haven's!
 

kenny

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calibali

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Source removed. Just saw your last post, Kenny - sorry!
 

kenny

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Apparently that may be the source for the words and idea, but not for the person who created the illustration.
(I say may because these days you can't be certain of much.)
I can't find who made the graphic.

Is anyone better at Googling this than I?

The reason I think this is brilliant is...all my life I've know about the "optionalness" of that last comma, but after this funny, powerful>>>>, <<<< and memorable example I'm going go change my behavior.
 

Haven

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Of course I understand, Kenny. I was just wondering if you found this on someone's blog because I want to print it out and put it up in my office. I don't want to do that without a credit to the creator, though. No big deal.
 

kenny

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Well if you google, "the oxford comma" and "jfk" a few blogs show up.
I did not get it from any of those.

I have asked my source where he/she got it and am waiting for a reply.
 

Haven

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Thanks, Kenny!

Yes, I googled before I asked if you knew the source, but was overwhelmed with the number of hits that came up. I clicked on a few and then figured I might as well just ask my source (you) if he knew THE source. :cheeky:

I created the "Let's eat grandpa" image I posted above, speaking of sources. I know a lot of people have different versions of it, but I first saw this example in the 5th grade. A teacher wrote "Let's eat kids" but I prefer to eat grandpa. :bigsmile: I would put her name as the source, but I think this is one of those public domain things by now, since it's used so often and by so many.

ETA:

I found a blog that credits this blog as the original:
http://aeferg.tumblr.com/post/10290286196/grammar-is-important-kids-credit-for-original
Still not sure, though.
 

kenny

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I find the meat of children to be more tender and juicy than the meat of old folks.
But hey, people vary.
 

Haven

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kenny|1316293529|3019659 said:
I find the meat of children to be more tender and juicy than the meat of old folks.
But hey, people vary.
:lol: :lol:

Well, there's no accounting for taste. :cheeky:
I prefer my meat well-seasoned.
 

mrscushion

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Oh, THAT's the Oxford comma. I was wondering what the song by Vampire Weekend was about.
 

Arkteia

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Worst example. I am not quoting the whole article about "Isabella of France" from Wikipedia, it is very long. This event dates back to 1327, the year when she seized power from her husband Edward II and killed him.

"According to legend, Isabella and Mortimer famously plotted to murder Edward in such a way as not to draw blame on themselves, sending a famous order (in Latin: Eduardum occidere nolite timere bonum est) which, depending on where the comma was inserted, could mean either "Do not be afraid to kill Edward; it is good" or "Do not kill Edward; it is good to fear".

The guards either knew Latin poorly or were very smart and Eduard was murdered.
 

jstarfireb

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I always use the Oxford comma! It seems weird not to.
 

kenny

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I'm going to use it now so people think I was edjumated at Oxford.
 

MissGotRocks

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Don't like it; just seems 'wrong' to me!
 

Regular Guy

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Sorry, despite the pictures, which were in the end, helpful...it took me a while to get it.

Seems like I may have trained that it was optional but not preferred.

Not sure this really will change my practice, which is probably not to include it.

And, still...Sally sews buttons on the 9th floor...


Ira Z.
 

monarch64

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I always use the Oxford comma, too. I can't imagine life without it. :appl:
 

zoebartlett

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I always use it. To me, a sentence isn't balanced if it's missing.
 

packrat

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I didn't realize it had a name! I thought it was just proper comma placement. We actually had a lesson on it when I was little, at church of all places.
 

centralsquare

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I was taught that it was proper to use; it is only recently that I notice more and more people not using. So, I've been getting lazy about using it myself.

What were you taught in terms of spaces between sentences when typing. I was taught 2 spaces, but see a lot of 1 space.
 

sonnyjane

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jstarfireb|1316305585|3019781 said:
I always use the Oxford comma! It seems weird not to.

Same. I was taught to use it in school and couldn't imagine not doing so.
 

NewEnglandLady

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A writer friend of mine posted a similar image as Haven's about commas saving lives--hilarious! And I'm such a huge fan of the alot. Still, I never use the Oxford comma. One professor in a college writing course insisted we not use it and it stuck. Now when I see it used, it interrupts the sentence for me.
 

Puppmom

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I don't use the Oxford Comma. As Vampire Weekend says, "Who gives a $%@# about an Oxford Comma?"
 

Cehrabehra

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I always use it. I think it does a superior job of clarifying a list. I have cats. They are grey, black, and white. I have cats. They are grey, black and white. I want you to order pizza. I want mushroom, sausage, and pepperoni. I want mushroom, sausange and pepperoni.

There are better examples... and now I want pizza lol
 

Cehrabehra

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Haven|1316295069|3019668 said:
kenny|1316293529|3019659 said:
I find the meat of children to be more tender and juicy than the meat of old folks.
But hey, people vary.
:lol: :lol:

Well, there's no accounting for taste. :cheeky:
I prefer my meat well-seasoned.

haha albert fish... anyway, my children are taught that that comma is WRONG. Ugh. I thought that it was a newer thing to add it.
 

blacksand

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We were taught NOT to use the Oxford comma and would have points taken away from our schoolwork if we did. It always seemed illogical to me (not to mention inequitable, as VRBeauty points out!), but that was the mandate where I was educated, so I conformed. I later learned that it was optional, and in fact many style guides (Strunk and White, for example) recommend its use. I think we followed the NY Times style conventions where I grew up, and I know their recommendation is to avoid the Oxford comma. I grew up near NYC, so I think perhaps this is a regional thing, at least in part.
 
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