1. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    I'm an oxford comma habitual user. you?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Jeff Countryman, Sep 13, 2015.

    The Oxford comma - I just do it out of habit, no other reason. I didn't even know it had a name until last spring. Interesting grammar debate though. :)

    Here's basically what it is and what's causing the big hullabaloo......

    http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2015/what-is-the-oxford-comma-and-why-do-people-care-so-much-about-it/

    Just quickly Google "Oxford comma" and you'll get the gist. It's a HUGE issue!!!

    Are you "for" or "against" the Oxford comma?

    LOL...doesn't take much to entertain me, huh?!! Happy Sunday all :)
     
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  2. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    Don't really care. I don't use it, but if you want to, good on you.
     
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    oxford-comma2.jpg

    For.
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Cracked.com has a good summation on why it doesn't actually help anything that I'll quote here:
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I tend to use the Oxford comma. In cases of ambiguity, the context usually makes it clear. This works both ways, however. It boils down to personal preference in most cases.
     
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  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I usually try to limit my use of commas. I examine my sentences for sense, but I read my work aloud, and let the rhythm dictate the commaness. I don't like too many commas - they slow things down.
     
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  7. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I use it. I like it. It works.

    There are lots of good reasons to use it. There are no good reasons against it.
     
  8. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    It's probably harder to leave it out than to put it in... or at least, you need to work harder to justify it...

    Hang on a minute! Wouldn't that second sentence be better suited with a semicolon?
     
  9. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    It depends on the sentence I'm writing. Oddly enough, whenever I proofread my writing for my classes I'm deleting more commas than usual (usually oxford commas). Maybe my writing is evolving?

    Hopefully for the better. :)
     
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  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Oh, you didn't read it? I'll put it here then,
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I use it when needed for clarity, which is often. Doesn't make sense not to.
     
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  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    It varies for me. I most cases, it depends on if I 'm conforming to style. As I understand it, the Oxford comma is conventionally omitted in American English, so formally I try to avoid it and find other ways to make my sentences more clear. In personal writing, I might use them one day, then not the next. Rarely do I flip flop in one body of text. That said, I like it, aesthetically speaking because it is what I was taught to use when I first learned about commas... way back when... but somewhere down the line, it changed, and I was like WTF? When did the rules change??? Am I the only one who noticed there are two sets of guidelines on comma use? Now I don't mind it either way as long as the writing is consistent. I feel like most people don't notice it unless they are reading to learn about style.
     
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  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That's reaching at best. It's hardly a 'good' reason. It's just bad writing to start with.
     
  14. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    The Oxford comma is the best comma, the strongest comma, Bruce Lee, and the correct comma. Everything else is just context.

    Half Life 3 Confirmed!

    Over and out.
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Is it? Well then lets use a great example:
    We brought the strippers, Candy and Glitter.

    Looks like when the intent of the sentence changes the comma use should too.
     
  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Choose an option and use it consistently. Language derives its meaning from its consistent usage.

    I use the serial comma. Syntactic ambiguity is inevitable either way simply because English has the flaw of using commas both for lists and for appositives. Therefore, ambiguity is not a reason for or against the serial comma. I use it because this is my mental model:
    1. Delimit a list by commas: "one, two, three".
    2. Insert the appropriate conjunction before the last item: "one, two, and three".
    3. If there are two items, then omit the delimiting comma: "two and three".
    But more importantly, I am consistent about it. To change would be inconsistent, and I know of no reason to justify that inconsistency. Just like I know of no reason to switch from "color" to "colour".
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
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  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I tended not to use the Oxford comma for many years. Not ever. I don't remember being rapped on the knuckles for using it while I was in school, but I just didn't use it. Now, I find I use it more often, although still not always. It does make sense to use it in certain circumstances.

    There's that old saying about commas: When in doubt, leave it out. (I've been pulled up short for taking THAT approach as well.)

    It's good to remember that commas are largely optional marks of punctuation, when it comes to creative writing. It boils down to how the sentences look, read, and make sense on the page. Best to do what works and makes sense on each occasion. If commas create stuttery-cluttery passages, maybe leave them out. If they're needed for pauses or for clarity, put them in.

    If you decide that your approach must be consistent, then you flirt with creating clumsy prose (in order to accomodate all those commas you MUST use) or flirt with losing the reader (if they misread your sentences because you refuse to put commas in.) My own preference is to go with what works best in each instance. Inconsistency is only going to matter if people notice it. I'd say try to make sure they don't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
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  18. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure what point you are making with this example. @Selbbin said there is no good reason not to use a serial comma to delimit list items. You contradicted that. Is the post I quoted supposed to be an example of when not to use a serial comma to delimit list items? Because it looks like a reason to do so (consistently).

    If you consistently use a serial comma to delimit list items, then it is syntactically unambiguous that "Candy and Glitter" is an appositive because it is known that you would have put a comma after "Candy" if you meant that "strippers", "Candy", and "Glitter" were three separate items.

    If you consistently do not use a serial comma to delimit list items, then your sentence is syntactically ambiguous because the interpretations "the stripper named Candy and the stripper named Glitter" and "the strippers and Candy and Glitter" are both consistent with your language usage pattern.

    Your example does not raise the question of whether to use a serial comma in that sentence, but rather the question of whether to use a serial comma in every other sentence you write that contains a list of 3+ items.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
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  19. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Yeah, I think I really lost the thread there. Sorry about that.
     
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  20. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Same, though I actively disliked it for no apparent reason. Then I realised it often makes writing clearer, and clarity is what I need to achieve in my work. So now I use it.
     
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  21. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I want to meet some strippers named Candy and Glitter; they sound hot! :supergrin:

    Oxford comma is correct punctuation to distinguish clarity depending on context (as I already said if you'd listened!).

    We brought the strippers, Candy and Glitter.
    We brought the strippers, Candy, and Glitter.

    Both of these sentences could refer to bringing two strippers named Candy and Glitter, or bringing three items: strippers, candy, and glitter. However, two factors dictate the sentences, and it's not the Oxford comma:-

    1. What encompasses those sentences in terms of context.
    2. The fact that Candy and Glitter are capitalised.

    So now we know that it's two strippers named Candy and Glitter, Oxford comma or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well there's a third option as well, although you'd have to ditch the caps: We brought the strippers candy and glitter. And they were most grateful to receive our gifts.
     
  23. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    How can the second one refer to two strippers named Candy and Glitter? If it does refer to that, then you are saying "Candy, and Glitter" is an appositive. The sentence would then be another way of saying:

    "We brought the strippers named Candy, and Glitter."

    Which is syntactically invalid because it uses a comma to delimit a two-item list. This would be syntactically valid:

    "We brought the strippers named Candy and Glitter."
     
  24. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Because it says, 'We bought strippers?'

    The only difference between the two sentences is that the Oxford comma distinguishes each of the strippers names. Other than that, they're identical.
     

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