1. rachel21321
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    rachel21321 Member

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    Another Comma Conundrum

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by rachel21321, Oct 27, 2009.

    Thanks in advance for all the help. The members of this site are amazing with quick, genuine feedback. Anyways, how did I do on punctuation? Here is the sentence:

    No matter the reason, be it a beer pong tournament, an IBY competition, or just a fight to the death, the music you play to get pumped up can make the difference between a time of fun or a time of fail.

    Pretty much, how do i punctuate lists within a sentence?
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your sentence looks fine to me.

    You punctuate it with commas, like you did. Sometimes you use a semi-colon between each item of a list if the items are quite wordy and can get confusing for the reader.
     
  3. Mo Yeongsu
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    Mo Yeongsu Member

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    Lose the comma before "or" and it will be grammatically fine. It may technically be without it, but when doing anything like that I've always been taught "a, b and c" vs "a, b, and c" I'm sure if you search enough you'll discover this to be the most used (and probably correct) form.

    Now, you can completely ignore what I have to say next as being nit-picky, but I think it'd be better if you tweaked the beginning and made it:

    "No matter what the reason for doing it is, be it a beer pong tournament, an IBY competition or just a fight to the death, the music you play to get pumped up can make the difference between a time of fun or a time of fail."

    I just think it sounds better, but it's probably correct still. I just feel there's something wrong leaving it the way it is. I can't explain it, but maybe you can see why I think mine is better.
     
  4. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    Another way, in a casual sort of sentence as this is, is to use m-dashes:

    No matter the reason a beer pong tournament, an IBY competition, or just a fight to the deaththe music you play to get pumped up can make the difference between a fun time and a fiasco.

    (I've fiddled with the last bit, too, to tighten it up and level the register.)
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Mo, you're refering to the Oxford Comma. Many writers, especially American writers, still use it.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ok, but for that one missing comma... but 'time of fail' is ungrammatical and does not mirror 'time of fun'...

    mo... it's not correct and doesn't read properly without the commas...

    arch... oxford comma only relates to the last item in a series, that is prefaced with 'and'...
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That is what he was referring to in regard to Mo Yeongsu's post.
     
  8. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    To add to that, the Oxford comma (serial comma) is not only used before 'and' but before the final conjunction in a list (it may well be used before 'or' for example). It is the OUP house style and is perhaps best used for disambiguation purposes.
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Yeah, I was refering to this, for the Oxford comma.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, i missed that, thought you were referring to 'or'...
     

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