March 20, 2017 at 1:45 am #28045
In my English classes, I was always taught that when I write a list of items, I must write, item A, item B, item C, and item D. There was never any question that a comma should be used before the word “and.”
Years later, I learned that this comma is called an Oxford comma, and there is some controversy regarding its use. Journalistic style manuals advise against using it. The classic Elements of Style, the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, the MLA Manual of Style, and APA style state that it must be used.
Now, the Oxford comma is having some legal consequences. A Maine statute that exempts from overtime pay workers who perform certain activities with agricultural produce, meat products, fish products, and perishable goods. The question with the way that the law was punctuated became, are the truck drivers who distribute these products exempt? The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals says no: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/oxford-comma-lawsuit.html?_r=0March 20, 2017 at 3:28 am #28049
In this case, A comma replaces the word “and” so if you use “and”, you don’t need the comma. This is true with any word the comma replaces.March 20, 2017 at 10:26 am #28055
In this case, there was a Maine legal element of style that said not to use the Oxford comma. The lawmakers followed this rule. However, the truckers’ lawyers and the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.
I always use the Oxford comma simply because all of my grammar textbooks in school called for it, and my English teachers would have taken points off my work had I left it out. Yes, ultimately, what was of paramount importance to me was that number that the teacher wrote in red on the front page of the assignments that I turned in.March 20, 2017 at 6:44 pm #28060
In my high school newspaper class the Oxford comma was considered taboo. My typing teacher also strongly frowned upon it. My sophomore and junior English teachers embraced it whereas my senior one denounced it. It seems that, at Evergreen around the turn of the century, there were two warring factions in the language and business departments: those who approved it and those who didn’t.
I never use it myself, if I can help it.
Grammar is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit.
Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.March 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm #28064
I’m not qualified for this kind of conversation but I prefer the oxford coma. I think it makes for clearer communication.March 20, 2017 at 8:16 pm #28066
With an Oxford coma, there’s no communication at all! 🙂March 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm #28067
I come from a family of noted authors/writers, and I don’t give a flying f__k about the Oxford comma.
There are general rules of grammar, and most importantly these rules are just to write like you speak. Of course this only applies if you speak well. So write like you speak, but make sure you use commas correctly, then you will have no trouble communicating. So use a comma or don’t use a comma or then again use a comma when needed. 🙂March 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm #28089
So which sentence here is the RIGHT usage for the comma?
Jack made a mistake, and in the interest of fairness, he corrected it.
Jack made a mistake and, in the interest of fairness, he corrected it.March 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm #28092
Neither. The entire sentence makes logical sense without any comma’s. Comma’s separate different subjects or thoughts.
Hey, grammar is not an exact science but it is a common mistake in writing. And my coma after “Hey” is allowed as it calls attention to a subject that is not known by that one word. It is pretty simple but most over-think it.
And we are all guilty of making comma mistakes. Like, me. 🙂
March 21, 2017 at 10:58 pm #28095
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by paulwalker.
Can someone tell me how to properly punctuate a quoted question within a sentence?
The man said, “Where is the post office?”.
Is that correct? Should “where” be capitalized? Should there be a period after the quote?March 21, 2017 at 11:20 pm #28096March 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm #28099
You edited while I asked for clarification.
March 21, 2017 at 11:50 pm #28104
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Amus.
OK, but feel free to ask the question again. I love this topic.March 22, 2017 at 12:02 am #28106
Proud2, I agree with what Jr. Tech is about to say.
March 22, 2017 at 12:20 am #28108
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by semoochie.
Possibly substitute “asked” for “said”?
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