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18 September 2011

I saw that earlier today and giggled for 5 minutes. Between that and the panda joke, I'm a firm believer in the oxford comma.
posted by bluesapphires 18 September | 20:22
I never knew that was called an Oxford comma, but I've been using it all my life. That's a great illustration of the difference in meaning one little tick of punctuation can make. Brilliant.
posted by Thorzdad 19 September | 05:09
It's also called the serial comma and I usually use it, as I find it really helps with conclusive clarity.

Another of my favorite examples is about Merle Haggard and his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall.
posted by Miko 19 September | 09:58
I never cared what Oxford said. I used it when I needed it and dropped it when I didn't.
posted by Ardiril 19 September | 17:30
Heh, I've always been opposed to what I now know is the Oxford comma, because there is an implied comma before the 'and'. Our department's style guide also prohibits the use of this comma as part of the whole 'punctuation should be used minimally and only when it is necessary for clarity' thing. Work is where I do most of my writing, so I guess it's become ingrained in me to 'see' the implied comma to the point where I had to consciously not see it to follow along with the joke.

One of the comments in Miko's link makes the point that it's not just about the comma, it's about writing clearly and that a good writer can do so with or without the comma. I think some people use punctuation to try and fix poor writing when, if the words are well ordered, there is no need.
posted by dg 19 September | 17:30
I work for Oxford Uni Press and it has been house style to NOT use the Oxford Comma except when really necessary. I think it definitely can add clarity though, but I don't get all het up one way or another about it!
posted by jonathanstrange 20 September | 18:02 || Timeless Light (SLYT)