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Subject: Oxford comma rss

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¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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I used to be 'pro' comma before an "and", but this makes me reconsider.
Not using it there can definitely be more fun:

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A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes eating the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterised by distinct black and white colouring. Eats shoots and leaves."

I remain pro-comma.
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While I'm strongly in the for camp when it comes to the Oxford comma, not using it is definitely way funnier.
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Chris
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I'm very much opposed to the Oxford comma. It's almost always unnecessary.

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"

No, it's not. That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers." Problem solved.

Don't let the fact that most people don't know how to write effectively be the crutch for using an archaic tool.
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Larry Levy
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But why should the addition of a single comma make you have to rewrite a sentence from the way you wanted to say it, Lemur? Adding a comma after every item in a list is simple, logical, and does the best job of avoiding misinterpretation. Always seemed like a slam dunk to me.
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Lemur wrote:
I'm very much opposed to the Oxford comma. It's almost always unnecessary.

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"

No, it's not. That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers." Problem solved.

Don't let the fact that most people don't know how to write effectively be the crutch for using an archaic tool.


I actually agree with you that writer deliberately misuses the comma here for comic intent.
The second drawing is more accurately described with a semi-colon (or a dash), as in, "We invited the strippers; JFK and Stalin."
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MABBY wrote:
Lemur wrote:
I'm very much opposed to the Oxford comma. It's almost always unnecessary.

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"

No, it's not. That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers." Problem solved.

Don't let the fact that most people don't know how to write effectively be the crutch for using an archaic tool.


I actually agree with you that writer deliberately misuses the comma here for comic intent.
The second drawing is more accurately described with a semi-colon (or a dash), as in, "We invited the strippers; JFK and Stalin."


The second example can be read as an appositive phrase. A semicolin wouldn't be more correct.
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Larry Levy wrote:
But why should the addition of a single comma make you have to rewrite a sentence from the way you wanted to say it, Lemur? Adding a comma after every item in a list is simple, logical, and does the best job of avoiding misinterpretation. Always seemed like a slam dunk to me.



Because the intent of writing *should* be for understanding by your audience, not "writing it the way you want to say it."

A good editor (and, since the Oxford comma isn't used by the AP in this country) would see that first sentence and rewrite it - because having the audience understand what's being written outweighs the desire of the author to have it written a particular way (and, certainly outweighs comic relief).

It's archaic. We may as well start using "whilst" in our writing, if we wish to return (which is not to say the way we speak today is any great shakes - I shudder most of the time).
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MABBY wrote:
Lemur wrote:
I'm very much opposed to the Oxford comma. It's almost always unnecessary.

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"

No, it's not. That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers." Problem solved.

Don't let the fact that most people don't know how to write effectively be the crutch for using an archaic tool.


I actually agree with you that writer deliberately misuses the comma here for comic intent.
The second drawing is more accurately described with a semi-colon (or a dash), as in, "We invited the strippers; JFK and Stalin."



Or a colon "We invited the strippers: JFK and Stalin"

Point is - there is always a better way to word things. Oxford comma apologists point out ridiculous examples saying, "See? This is why it's necessary!" and smart editors say, "Um, I can fix that."
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Orangemoose wrote:
A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes eating the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterised by distinct black and white colouring. Eats shoots and leaves."

I remain pro-comma.


WTF? Panda's aren't marsupials. As a moose you should know better than that.
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Lemur wrote:
... since the Oxford comma isn't used by the AP in this country ...

As if the press can ever get anything right.
Really it's just some lame-ass justification for sloppy writing and saving ink.

This is the best reason I can think of for using the Oxford comma.


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Lemur wrote:
I'm very much opposed to the Oxford comma. It's almost always unnecessary.

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"

No, it's not. That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers." Problem solved.

Don't let the fact that most people don't know how to write effectively be the crutch for using an archaic tool.


New band name, Stalin and the strippers.
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kswingruber wrote:
Lemur wrote:
... since the Oxford comma isn't used by the AP in this country ...

As if the press can ever get anything right.
Really it's just some lame-ass justification for sloppy writing and saving ink.

This is the best reason I can think of for using the Oxford comma.





Well - considering Oxford University no longer uses the Oxford comma ... um ....
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Lemur wrote:
Larry Levy wrote:
But why should the addition of a single comma make you have to rewrite a sentence from the way you wanted to say it, Lemur? Adding a comma after every item in a list is simple, logical, and does the best job of avoiding misinterpretation. Always seemed like a slam dunk to me.

Because the intent of writing *should* be for understanding by your audience, not "writing it the way you want to say it."


I say it should be both. Write for the joy of it, for the wonder that words represent. Follow the rules, but don't sweat the small stuff (and whether there's 2 or 3 commas definitely strikes me as small stuff!).

Quote:
It's archaic. We may as well start using "whilst" in our writing, if we wish to return (which is not to say the way we speak today is any great shakes - I shudder most of the time).

Guess I don't see the issue. I know more people who use the Oxford comma than those who don't and they're all decent writers. So if it's "archaic", it's an anachronism that has staying power. In the area of bad writing, commas are very, very far down on my personal list. So I say follow whatever rule for commas works for you, but it's not going to bother me much one way or the other.
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Larry Levy wrote:
Lemur wrote:
Larry Levy wrote:
But why should the addition of a single comma make you have to rewrite a sentence from the way you wanted to say it, Lemur? Adding a comma after every item in a list is simple, logical, and does the best job of avoiding misinterpretation. Always seemed like a slam dunk to me.

Because the intent of writing *should* be for understanding by your audience, not "writing it the way you want to say it."


I say it should be both. Write for the joy of it, for the wonder that words represent. Follow the rules, but don't sweat the small stuff (and whether there's 2 or 3 commas definitely strikes me as small stuff!).

Quote:
It's archaic. We may as well start using "whilst" in our writing, if we wish to return (which is not to say the way we speak today is any great shakes - I shudder most of the time).

Guess I don't see the issue. I know more people who use the Oxford comma than those who don't and they're all decent writers. So if it's "archaic", it's an anachronism that has staying power. In the area of bad writing, commas are very, very far down on my personal list. So I say follow whatever rule for commas works for you, but it's not going to bother me much one way or the other.



I'm not donating to the "Americans Against Oxford Comma" coalition. There are very few things in life that *are* worth getting bent out of shape over (ironically, if you read BGG, you'd presume they all happen here).

I was, though, giving an extremely serious answer to what the OP intended as a joke. If I was editing the piece, and the second line of the meme was presented to me, I'd rewrite it; because that's the goal of writing (striving for understanding). If the line made it into print, unchanged, it would either be because the editor wasn't particularly good; or the writer was a diva, and insisted it not be changed (in which case, that's fine, since his/her name is attached to it).

But, slapping an archaic tool in there doesn't replace the need to adhere to a higher standard of writing.

No, we're not curing cancer, but - if it doesn't really matter, then you don't get to complain when we eventually devolve a a civilization into just writing like this:


Hay, u gon 2 go 2 da club 2nite n r u gon b wid bae?



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Quote:
Hay, u gon 2 go 2 da club 2nite n r u gon b wid bae?


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Oxford Comma - the last vestige of civilized society.

I'm sticking with it.
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Lemur wrote:
That's just lazy writing. Change it to:

"We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers."



I've heard that Stalin and the strippers is a pretty awesome punk band. They're gritty, loud, and quite visual. But, like food, not everyone gets it.



Lemur wrote:

Now, the example above is funny; and Oxford proponents say, "Oh, look, see ... it's needed!"


And couldn't you have just dropped 1 of those commas? Something like "oh look, see... it isn't really needed!"
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Fowler is in favor of the Oxford Comma so I'm in favor.
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I don't use the "extra" comma because I am lazy.

To be fair to those who do, it is probably a more accurate way to write it as someone would say it. As we (old farts, alas it's not taught now) know a comma means to slightly pause when reading aloud.
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Audacon wrote:
And couldn't you have just dropped 1 of those commas? Something like "oh look, see... it isn't really needed!"



Technically, you should spell out all numbers lower than 10 (so, "one").

When in Pedanticland, be pedantic!
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SybotCB wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes eating the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterised by distinct black and white colouring. Eats shoots and leaves."

I remain pro-comma.


WTF? Panda's aren't marsupials. As a moose you should know better than that.


Maybe because the genesis of the joke is possibly one involving wombats and Australian males.

Except they don't shoot. They root. In a non North American way.
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There are occasions, such as direct quotes, where rewriting isn't an option.

Personally, I'm in favor of giving writers the tools they need. If you need an Oxford comma, then use it. If you can be more clear by restructuring your sentence, then do so.


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Wandered in here for the commas.

Stayed for the pandas and strippers.
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