Friday, July 1, 2011

The Oxford Comma

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

I have something to tell you that may reduce your belief in my love for grammar.

I didn't know what the Oxford comma was until after I graduated with an English degree (and courses in linguistics).  I had to look it up on (oh, this hurts) Wikipedia.  I know, I know, I should have gone to a better-credited source, but it's so easy to just pop over there and type in your search.  For the record, I did follow the wiki search with a perusal of the OWL at Purdue, just to verify what I was reading.

But anyway, once I knew what it was--ah! the serial comma!--I realized that it was the comma I actually quite love.  It's the one that comes after the last item before the conjunction in a list.

This is all a bit of history (I almost wrote "backstory" before remembering this article) to tell you why, exactly, I loved and laughed at this story on NPR.

I am so happy to hear that the Oxford Comma is safe (because I am not a fan of unnecessary ambiguity, unless it serves some rhetorical purpose).


kimbirdy said...

haha, i love reading blogs by english majors/writers. i still use the oxford comma, even though i was informed by my boss at the law firm where i used to work {writing horribly boring legal drafts} that i no longer needed to use them. hell no i'm not going to stop using them, they just feel so RIGHT! :) ok, off to sing "oxford comma" by vampire weekend.

... said...

Your affection for the Oxford comma is inherited. Like you, I love to use it, but didn't know it be its proper name.

I expect it is not necessary to specify which of your aunts wrote this comment.