ForumGeneral Discussion ► Grammar Nazi Finder
Coldfrost said:
'He paced, drank his tea, and worried' hits a bit different than 'He paced and drank his tea and worried'. It changes the pace of the sentence a bit and makes it seem less like he's doing all three simultaneously.


The second option also helps convey his worry better. It flows off the tongue in a way that mimics the way anxious thoughts move and repeat.
  
The Oxford comma is an abomination. Also, the penguin guide to punctuation points out that well meaning rules like "put a comma where you would pause" aren't correct.
  
Oh my goodness, Swedish comma rules are partly like that AND I DON'T LIKE IT. "Put a comma where you would pause" is not structured enough for me. In addition to that rule, there are about five or so rules for when to always place (and not place) commas.
  
The punctuation guide points out that they are the most misused punctuation marks, and there are four specific uses with examples.

By the way: the listing comma replaces the words "and" or "or" so "The strippers, JFK and Stalin" implies they are not strippers. That would be "the strippers JFK and Stalin."
  
  • "The strippers, JFK and Stalin" implies they are not strippers. That would be "the strippers JFK and Stalin."

That's not really true. We often use a comma followed by a more specific definition of a term. For example: "The two Senators, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, arrived at the White House yesterday."

Or, to restructure similarly to the JFK example: "The White House was visited by two Senators, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders." It's understandable to read JFK and Stalin as being a further clarification on who the strippers are since that is a fairly common sentence structure. Normally, you can figure out the meaning through context... but not always. The Oxford comma prevents that misunderstanding.

Also, the Oxford comma does not replace the and? It's in addition to the and.
  
Yes the fact that the listing comma isn't replacing and is why proponents of the Oxford comma believe it is necessary. I'm just saying what a British style guide says, and in a British style guide using a comma in that context is wrong. The punctuation mark that you can use there is a colon not a comma.
  
I'm not a huge fan of that. I feel that a colon reads very different tonally than does a comma. It might be fine for academic work, but it is not very practical in day to day writing.
  
Oxford commas are great, actually. People who don't use them are curmudgeonly.
  
I agree with you; Oxford commas are great. Even though some of my friends don't like it, I do. I find that it's easier to separate different objects in a sentence, like a list. It's more legible, clear, and overall more understandable to read and comprehend.
  
Sure. I understand your criticism of it, but Americans act like British grammar and punctuation makes no sense when it's just as internally consistent and sensible as yours.

I'm not saying you're wrong other than in a comical, exaggerated and parochial sense. Just explaining that actually our style guides don't just shrug at the superiority and clarity of your comma usage: they make perfect sense on their own.


Edit: commas are hugely overused as it is (put one where you pause!). I think the overuse has meant the actual rules are so badly obfuscated that the Oxford comma is necessary in spite of contributing to the problem.
  
I must say I'm quite guilty of using commas. Most of my sentences that I create are complex sentences, which use more commas than I'd like. It does indeed take longer to read, but at the same time, it also helps me break some ideas in a sentence. If I'm reading a document or paragraph with too many commas, it'll take me a long time to find the important ideas. However, if the writing has no commas at all, it seems run-on and monotonous.

While I'm still in favour of the Oxford comma, I agree that commas are overused.
  
When I wrote my dissertation my supervisor more or less said "check the usage of every comma when reading through your draft." The problem is as much as we think a comma separates ideas that isn't one of its uses. Like I said before -- the style guide gave four distinct uses, and if your comma isn't explicitly one of those it's incorrect in formal writing.

For forum posts who cares right? Just pointing out that the ambiguity is soluble by following the rules. Not using the Oxford comma is valid in a world where the listing comma explicitly replaces the words "and" or "or."
  
New topic: Maple Leafs vs Maple Leaves? Is Toronto wrong and heretical?
  
As a Toronto-born, I am ashamed that it should be 'Leaves'. However, 'Leafs' does sound more pleasant to the ear.

Unrelated, but the name choice is also poor; I understand maple leaves are part of Canadian culture, but it's pretty stereotypical.

Edit: To further prove my point, Ottawa (the capital of Canada)'s sports team are named the Senators. There's another 'great' name for you...
  
Coldfrost said:
New topic: Maple Leafs vs Maple Leaves? Is Toronto wrong and heretical?


Leafs is 100% heretical.
  
I know Tolkien had a long and brutal fight with his publisher to be able to use the word 'dwarves' vs 'dwarfs'.
  
ca we ply mor on this thred
  
Grammar Nazi is probably banned now
  
that fight shaped the way we pluralize "dwarf" to this very day
  
you're idea seems interesting.
  
i aree
  
im vary hungary write know
  
saime
  
i cannt billeev iht. Whheee awr bowth hungary
  
wie aer bouth vearie hongrey
  
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