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The oxford comma
Posted: Posted February 7th by Xhin
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I'm not from Britlandia but I like it a lot. Have caught myself using it in long posts, documentation, and lengthy conversations.

There are 8 Replies

I used to not use it at all, but I have changed my mind about it. Previously, I found the "item A, item B and item C" format to appear more typographically appealing, but now I can't help but read that as "item A; item B & C".

Posted February 7th by 9x19
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9x19
 

Wise band once said "Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?"

Posted February 7th by Fox Forever
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I had a professor in college who drilled the Oxford comma into our heads. She would practically fail your assignment outright if you didn't use Oxford commas in your writing.

Posted February 7th by Black Yoshi
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i prefer it for long-form writing (to be as clear as possible), but ad copy looks punchier when you drop it, so it depends imo

Posted February 7th by poptart!
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For me the archetype or prototype of the Oxford comma is the one that says
The panda: eats, shoots, and leaves

instead of saying
The panda: eats; shoots and leaves



Posted February 10th by chiarizio
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I went to Catholic school for most of my life, so I always use the Oxford comma and prefer it. And I think there are scenarios in which it helps clarify what exactly is being listed.

But I also generally take the attitude I do to language rules overall: they're great and helpful for clarity, but overall, it's rarely that difficult to figure out what folks are saying through the broader context clues.

Posted February 10th by Jet Presto
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@Jet Presto:
What do you mean?

Posted February 11th by chiarizio
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I don't think it's very common that people have no idea what you mean if you don't strictly follow the "rules of grammar."

For example, if I told you that I went to the pet shop and got a beta fish, a goldfish and zebra fish, I don't think you'll have any difficulty figuring out that I came home with three fish, not two in which one is some sort of magical crossbreed.

But I do think there are occasions where it provides greater clarity.

For example:

I had a party with my cats, Steve, and Benny.

vs.

I had a party with my cats, Steve and Benny.

The first is clear that there are three separate beings being identified. The cats, Steve, and Benny.

The second is a little more ambiguous. Did I have a party with just my cats, whose names are Steve and Benny?

In my mind when I wrote them, they're the same thing. But to a reader, it's a bit unclear. So the Oxford comma was helpful. Of course, if I included that in some sort of story, the greater context would provide such clarity.

"It was Saturday night and I hadn't heard from Steve in a while. My friend Benny had texted to see what I was up to since he was hanging out with Steve. I figured it was a good time for a party. So I texted and had a little party with my cats, Steve and Benny."

The Oxford comma is unnecessary to provide clarity, but I would personally still use it just for good measure.




Posted February 12th by Jet Presto
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