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Off topic: Goodbye, dear Oxford comma
Thread poster: lindaellen (X)

Andreas Hild  Identity Verified
German to English
+ ...
Mistakenly reported that OUP had elected to put its beloved punctuation mark out to pasture Jul 6, 2011

FYI!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jul/03/pass-notes-oxford-comma

lindaellen wrote:

This is sad. A few years ago I sent a regular client (non-native Eng. - in need of proofreading), a whole page of commas - not just Oxford ones.

Will he return the Oxford commas?



http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06/29/oxford-comma-dropped-university-serial-comma_n_886932.html#s300557&title=Roisin_Bonner

Goodbye, farewell, and see you again.

lindaellen


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:06
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Essential Oxford Comma Jul 8, 2011

I feel the Oxford Comma should always be used, as there is the possibility of ambiguity especially when there one or more ands elsewhere in the sentence.

In fact, I have just come across this sentence in a job:

"The main aim is to prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, and drug and chemical addicts, and become worthy people within the community."

In this particular sentence, at least IMHO, if even one of the commas before "and" is omit
... See more
I feel the Oxford Comma should always be used, as there is the possibility of ambiguity especially when there one or more ands elsewhere in the sentence.

In fact, I have just come across this sentence in a job:

"The main aim is to prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, and drug and chemical addicts, and become worthy people within the community."

In this particular sentence, at least IMHO, if even one of the commas before "and" is omitted there would be ambiguity. I don't see the need for a comma before "and chemical", as "drug and chemical" is like an adjective describing "addicts".
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F Scott Ophof (X)  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 10:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
A pox on convolutedness Jul 8, 2011

Paul Dixon wrote:

I feel the Oxford Comma should always be used, as there is the possibility of ambiguity especially when there one or more ands elsewhere in the sentence.
"The main aim is to prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, and drug and chemical addicts, and become worthy people within the community."


Nothing against the Oxford Comma (far from it); I will also use it--past death if possible.
[Climbing on soapbox]
But since we have that wonderful "&" character so handy on our keyboards, why in [censored] don't we USE the blessed thing? Like 'drug & chemical addicts'.
In addition, methinks that the sentence stinks and its author should take lessons in writing understandable English. There are simply:
- too many commas
- too many 'and's
- too many parts to keep separate
- too many parts to keep together
A simple rewrite (splitting it into two sentences) would have made it much more understandable.
Or like this:
"The main aims are to a) prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, or drug & chemical addicts, and b) to help the young people to become worthy people within the community."
Trying to make the original sentence stand as-is by use of convoluted punctuation just aggravates the situation. It also supports the author in thinking he or she is a good writer.
[Getting off soapbox, and grumbling while receding into the distance]
Seriously, which of those commas is an Oxford Comma? Or should I ask 'are'?


 

Allison Wright (X)  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:06
Removing one comma will not improve writing skills Jul 9, 2011

F Scott Ophof wrote:

Paul Dixon wrote:

"The main aim is to prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, and drug and chemical addicts, and become worthy people within the community."



A simple rewrite (splitting it into two sentences) would have made it much more understandable.
Or like this:
"The main aims are to a) prevent the young people from becoming bandits, prostitutes, or drug & chemical addicts, and b) to help the young people to become worthy people within the community."

Trying to make the original sentence stand as-is by use of convoluted punctuation just aggravates the situation. It also supports the author in thinking he or she is a good writer.
[Getting off soapbox, and grumbling while receding into the distance]
Seriously, which of those commas is an Oxford Comma? Or should I ask 'are'?




The last 'and' in the above sentence is not part of the 'series'. It is a common or garden variety coordinating conjunction which could therefore be replaced by any other in the glorious range of more complex conjunctions we have available, thereby dispelling comma confusion. If, that is, one should feel inclined to rephrase this string of words purporting to be a sentence in the first place.

The comma after 'prostitutes' is the serial comma: according to the new 'rule', it can stay. Yes, it is fun!

Edit: I never claimed to be a good typist.

[Edited at 2011-07-09 17:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-07-09 17:54 GMT]


 
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