I Give A F#$* About An Oxford Comma

19 Sep

I wrote something the other day that was edited by an overzealous Oxford comma-hating editor. Yeah. I don’t care that the AP doesn’t like an Oxford comma. I’m a fan. When you use an Oxford comma, you don’t have problems like this famous book dedication:

To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

I like the clarity commas provide. There is a book about grammar called Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It is based on this joke:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

‘Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

‘I’m a panda,’ he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. ‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’

I know I play fast and loose with the rules of grammar, (and taste, and common sense, and…) but well-placed punctuation could save a life.

4 Responses to “I Give A F#$* About An Oxford Comma”

  1. jmw4 September 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I am a fan of the Tilde.

    “I had ~30 points.” This would mean “I had about 30 points.”

    But I rarely use it.

    • Susan September 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      I LOVE Tilde Swinton. I didn’t realize she goes by a symbol. Like Prince.

  2. leigh September 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    if you read my letter to the editor recently you will find no shortage of commas. no shortage at all. apparently i like to write like I speak, and commas allow that intake of breath. see what i did right there?

    • Susan September 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Oh, I see how it works now. The Commercial Appeal must save them to send to Leaf Chronicle. That was where mine were so heartlessly stolen.

Just spit it out, already!

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