Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Do you use it?

Warning: this video is for grammar nerds only! All others kindly avert your eyes.

Personally, I don't use it in emails, blog posts and letters.
From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Oh gosh Hermoine, this one drives me crazy. I'm afraid to say I'm probably inconsistent with its use.


Dragon's Rose said...

When I was in college, we were told to use enough for clarity. I never lost any points for using an extra comma but I sure did for not using the Oxford comma.

abby said...

Hmmm...i always thought using the word 'and' meant you did not need the comma. Interesting....I would guess none of my former students is using it...
hugs abby

sugarsweethoney21 said...

I think, as the video says, it comes down to clarification--if it makes the overall meaning more clear than it should be used. I know this came up in my college English classes because it was different depending on which formatting the professor preferred. If they wanted APA then this became optional, but we wouldn't be marked down for it. If they wanted MLA then it had to be there or we would lose points. Really, a person has to simply find out if a teacher/boss requires it, but otherwise I think it just comes down to whether it makes the meaning of a sentence more clear or just takes up space.

Anonymous said...

Things I never discuss on blogs:

politics, religion, and Oxford commas

Hermione said...

Roz - Oh well, there are worse faults than that :)

Rose - Really? I can't say we were ever told whether to use it or not.

Abby - As I recall, that's the way we were taught in high school.

Sugar - Welcome! I totally agree. Use it when needed for clarity.

Rollin - LOL!


georgek said...

Hermione, until today I had never heard of an Oxford comma! I guess I was not paying attention in my last English class but that was 44years ago! I re-read some of my writing and turns out I do use it....inconsistantly!

Blessings and hugs,

Ami Starsong said...

I could try to explain the reasons for the comma, but would it really influence the way you write, think, speak or bake cakes? Nah, I thought not. So long as you are happy, what the heck difference! Me? I am totally hopeless. I have "crushes" on different types of punctuation and my worst fault is overuse of the exclamation mark. I just hate not using one!

Many hugs

Anonymous said...

amusing, to say the least.. and remember to help Jack, off the horse.
bottoms up

Hermione said...

George - Personally I prefer to call it a serial comma.

Ami - Yeah, exclamation marks frequently tend to be overused. I'm guilty of that myself.

Red - Groan!


ronnie said...

Have to put my hand up on this one, I don't always use it.


Baxter said...

with no disrespect to anyone who has commented, I think the example was clear, but the person's perspective or thought process was wrong. There are so many challenges to the English language from Twittering and facebooking and US Govt acronyms and internet acronyms, that it is no wonder effective communication is a lost art. I read past the absence of the comma and knew what was needed. Oh well, I think a lot of people need spankings and that is what makes this blog so fun.

Cat said...

LOL Hermione...Punctuation and spelling drive me nuts. Love the comments! ;)


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the serial comma has to do with spanking and other related kink, but I'll take a whack at it.

I use it religiously and have done so since I began writing, so in that regard, I do follow the Chicago Manual of Style, my bible.

For everyone else, do what you please, but be consistent within a give piece; otherwise, I'll have to spank your bare behind with a cane, Oxford style.

Rich Person said...

I refer you to Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. "A panda walks into a bar, fires three shots into the air, and...".

I would prefer if the world were simple, but here we are discussing commas. (I suppose, at this point, I should point out Lapsing Into a Comma : A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them... by Bill Walsh. But I digress.)

Still, if you wanted my opinion, I tend to use it in most lists except for ones with single words where the meaning is clear.

Perhaps we need a new syntax for this. Something like:

"I think you should use the hand, the paddle, the switch(,) and the cane if you don't like the author."

Hermione said...

Ronnie - Welcome to the club!

Baxter - I also didn't agree with some of the logic used.

Cat - The comments are always the best part of any post :)

Annapurna - Bad grammar is one of my pet peeves and examples of it often appear in the Friday Fail. I agree that consistency within a piece is more important than using - or not using - the Oxford comma.

Rich - Welcome! I've read both those books.