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Thread: For Clarity, Sometimes the Oxford Comma is Necessary

  1. #1
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    For Clarity, Sometimes the Oxford Comma is Necessary

    One member includes a list of favorite things, one of which is the Oxford Comma.

    In my early years of education, teachers taught us to use a comma before and in a list of items. In later years, this seemed to drop out of favor. Could it have been the difference due to some teachers having moved west after college and other teachers having attended college on the west coast?

    Technically either way is correct. However in many cases, lack of the comma before the 'and' can change the literal or legal meaning of a sentence.

    It seems in at least one case the lack of an Oxford Comma cost a company Five Million Dollars > https://cavalletticommunications.com...-oxford-comma/

    In another case it brought a lot of people to a lecture that didn't provide the content they thought it might.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #2
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    Jim, if you’re referring to this from my account “My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities” I have no strong feeling about Oxford commas. It just that the whole sentence is completely self contradictory. I found it hilarious when I read it somewhere devoted to humor.
    My three favorite things are the Oxford comma, irony and missed opportunities

    The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology. Edward O. Wilson

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    Yes Michael, my thoughts as to what an Oxford Comma might be were somewhat correct. Today it was searched via Google. Before today it seemed it was an optional extra. After reading the page, my understanding was changed towards it being needed.

    Now that you mention it, the irony is clear.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    I strongly advocate for the Oxford comma.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  5. #5
    I dislike lists, bad speeling, and the Oxford Comma.

  6. #6
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    I am curious as to why you attribute this trend to the west coast. Poor education in this post-literate society is pretty ubiquitous. I remember having to explain basic rules of grammar to college graduates back in the early '80s. Yeah, it does make a difference when you're writing something for which a bad interpretation can cost money or lives.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  7. #7
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    I was taught to use it all through school. Sentences without it don't bother me nearly as much as "your" used for "you're". I normally read pretty fast but still stumble over "your" being used incorrectly in a sentence. A lot of people don't mind, but it interrupts the flow since I have to go back and reread that part most of the time.

  8. #8
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    A panda walks into a bar, eats, shoots, and leaves.
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  9. #9
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    My Ford ranger pickup is Oxford white. This has been a factory color for decades. No commas were hurt in the making of my truck. It is also vegan, fat free, gluten free, cholesterol free, low calorie and high in both fiber and iron.
    Bill D

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    I'm a user. Probably due to my past career and the need for clarity in detailed technical documents. I feel I am being more clear if I state this, that, and those rather than this, that and those. It leaves no doubt that I am talking about three things; not one thing called this and another thing called that-n-those. A minor thing more often than not but can be critical in describing computer code or in engineering-like documentation. JMHO. Either is "correct".
    "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg".


    Samuel Butler

  11. #11
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    As I read with dismay what's left of the local paper, I wish the editors' (if they have editors) understanding of grammar went deep enough to care about Oxford commas.

  12. #12
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    Woman without her man would be nothing

    Definitely need a comma when writing that statement

  13. #13
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    Me fail English ? That unpossible.
    And a Panda tastes like grilled Chicken.
    Last edited by George Speed; 05-17-2024 at 10:42 AM. Reason: potential mistakes

  14. #14
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    I'd say that there is still a place in the world for english majors, but I'm not sure they even teach that kind of stuff anymore.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I was taught to use it all through school. Sentences without it don't bother me nearly as much as "your" used for "you're". I normally read pretty fast but still stumble over "your" being used incorrectly in a sentence. A lot of people don't mind, but it interrupts the flow since I have to go back and reread that part most of the time.
    In a recent rereading of my typing this error was caught and corrected. It made me think of making a graphic device for remembering the difference between words that sound alike yet have very different meanings.

    Their, There, They're.png

    A few thoughts run through my mind to make sense of a sentence like, Mr. Eyore with your yore you're in the land of fantasy.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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