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Old 09-18-2014, 07:24 AM   #1
litmlove
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On the Oxford Comma

http://themoosebody.tumblr.com/post/...xford-comma-is

A gentle reminder on the difference the Oxford Comma makes.

TL;DC It is about clarity of ideas.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litmlove View Post
http://themoosebody.tumblr.com/post/...xford-comma-is

A gentle reminder on the difference the Oxford Comma makes.

TL;DC It is about clarity of ideas.
It's easy to come up with examples like that one, but examples of ambiguity in actual writing--in the wild, as opposed to captivity--are rare. I say make a choice and stick with it consistently for greatest clarity.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:30 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
It's easy to come up with examples like that one, but examples of ambiguity in actual writing--in the wild, as opposed to captivity--are rare. I say make a choice and stick with it consistently for greatest clarity.
That's the dummest assertion I've heard since CIRCLE JERK and LC posted. Periodicals are awash is ambiguous blabber twaddle.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
That's the dummest assertion I've heard since CIRCLE JERK and LC posted. Periodicals are awash is ambiguous blabber twaddle.
The internet is overrun with grammar scolds toting copies of Strunk and White and the Chicago Manual, finding ambiguity where there is none, and sounding like preachers.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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Publishing uses the Oxford comma, Sooooo, unless you never hope to be published or are just pigheaded . . .

(This is akin to the stubbornness of insisting on continuing to put two character spaces after terminal punctuation twenty years after the end of the typewriter era.)
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
The internet is overrun with grammar scolds toting copies of Strunk and White and the Chicago Manual, finding ambiguity where there is none, and sounding like preachers.
And periodicals are filled with shitty writing. Learn more about writing and youll notice the problem.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Publishing uses the Oxford comma, Sooooo, unless you never hope to be published or are just pigheaded . . .

(This is akin to the stubbornness of insisting on continuing to put two character spaces after terminal punctuation twenty years after the end of the typewriter era.)
Surveying the top six or so Google results for "publishers' style guide" I see a diversity of usage. Oxford of course insists on the comma. Wiley-Blackwell is flexible. Sage doesn't like it but will go along if you insist. Yale prefers it. I read that Americans like it better than the British do, but I don't know how to confirm that. I also read that the Chicago Manual says take your pick and be consistent, but I'm in a coffee shop and can't check for myself.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
And periodicals are filled with shitty writing. Learn more about writing and youll notice the problem.
Of course there's lots of shitty writing in the world. This proves what?
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:09 AM   #9
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Of course there's lots of shitty writing in the world. This proves what?
It proves youre clueless when you collide with it.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
It proves youre clueless when you collide with it.
I suppose if you recognize "good writing" by the use of the Oxford comma. Not everyone does.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
I suppose if you recognize "good writing" by the use of the Oxford comma. Not everyone does.
NOT EVERYONE DOES is no reliable or valid standard.

But you drifted away from your original point about periodical writers rarely fucking up. They fuck up all the time.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:36 AM   #12
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NOT EVERYONE DOES is no reliable or valid standard.

But you drifted away from your original point about periodical writers rarely fucking up. They fuck up all the time.
That's not what I said. I said that examples of ambiguity resulting from the omission of an Oxford comma are hard to find.

And I insist on REAL ambiguity--not cases where a perverse reader can come up with an alternative meaning that disappears when you take it in context.

How did I get into this argument? I use the damned Oxford comma myself! I don't insist on it as a universal rule.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
Surveying the top six or so Google results for "publishers' style guide" I see a diversity of usage. Oxford of course insists on the comma. Wiley-Blackwell is flexible. Sage doesn't like it but will go along if you insist. Yale prefers it. I read that Americans like it better than the British do, but I don't know how to confirm that. I also read that the Chicago Manual says take your pick and be consistent, but I'm in a coffee shop and can't check for myself.
The current Chicago Manual (section 6.18) "strongly recommends" the serial comma.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litmlove View Post
http://themoosebody.tumblr.com/post/...xford-comma-is

A gentle reminder on the difference the Oxford Comma makes.

TL;DC It is about clarity of ideas.
On the other hand: "To my mother, Ayn Rand and God" is less ambiguous than "To my mother, Ayn Rand, and God".
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:02 PM   #15
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On the other hand: "To my mother, Ayn Rand and God" is less ambiguous than "To my mother, Ayn Rand, and God".
To my mind, the Oxford comma (which is contrary to what I was taught), indicated a slight pause in the rhythm of the spoken words.
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
That's not what I said. I said that examples of ambiguity resulting from the omission of an Oxford comma are hard to find.

And I insist on REAL ambiguity--not cases where a perverse reader can come up with an alternative meaning that disappears when you take it in context.

How did I get into this argument? I use the damned Oxford comma myself! I don't insist on it as a universal rule.
Its also called a HARVARD COMMA. Shit aint looking good for your College Bowl Team.
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #17
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Its also called a HARVARD COMMA. Shit aint looking good for your College Bowl Team.
And the series comma, and the serial comma. We all understand what we're talking about.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
To my mind, the Oxford comma (which is contrary to what I was taught), indicated a slight pause in the rhythm of the spoken words.
Yes, I was taught the same way, and it still seems odd, but I can see how in certain cases it can eliminate confusion.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:16 PM   #19
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To my mind, the Oxford comma (which is contrary to what I was taught), indicated a slight pause in the rhythm of the spoken words.
The British rules are often contextual, it seems to me, and with ifs in them. We Americans are more likely to adopt a rule and follow it straight to hell. It was in a style guide for a British publisher that I saw advice that American authors were likely to make an issue of this point, and in that case editors should just give in to them.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
And the series comma, and the serial comma. We all understand what we're talking about.
If we understood what we're talking about there would be agreement.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:17 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
If we understood what we're talking about there would be agreement.
We've descended into non-sequiturs. I think this thread is probably done.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:33 PM   #22
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We've descended into non-sequiturs. I think this thread is probably done.
I made my point stick.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Serafina1210 View Post
We've descended into non-sequiturs. I think this thread is probably done.
It was done in the first post. Despite how you feel about the oxford comma it serves the purpose of segregating words and sentence fragments.

I do admit the Oxford Comma is more like a guideline than a rule: the English language is a tricky beast that doesn't like to be pinned down.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Publishing uses the Oxford comma, Sooooo, unless you never hope to be published or are just pigheaded . . .

(This is akin to the stubbornness of insisting on continuing to put two character spaces after terminal punctuation twenty years after the end of the typewriter era.)
I had a recent writing partner in a team competition who INSISTED upon adding a double space after every period. He tried to bandy about his esteemed education for his tomfoolery. It was not a partnership that lasted.

Meanwhile, back in the summer of 2011 the Internet was awash with news of the Oxford comma's death: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06..._n_886932.html (One of many articles about how it was falling out of favor and one that cites the official entry.)

I'm unsure how different publishing houses access it's need. I would assume it's not a "one-size-fits-all" answer across all publishing houses and all genres. That said, adapting submissions to fit the style of a publisher IS good advice.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by litmlove View Post
It was done in the first post. Despite how you feel about the oxford comma it serves the purpose of segregating words and sentence fragments.

I do admit the Oxford Comma is more like a guideline than a rule: the English language is a tricky beast that doesn't like to be pinned down.
It not only doesn't like to be pinned down, once someone does pin it down, it's apt to change. I wonder how many more generations before the American and British versions (yes, I know that there's lots of versions of each) are as different as say English and German.
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