kitchen table math, the sequel: the Oxford comma

Monday, September 19, 2011

the Oxford comma

For years I have resisted dropping the final comma in a series.

E.g.: lions, tigers, and bears versus lions, tigers and bears

If there are three things, I use two commas. I don't know why.

Now I do.

9 comments:

Crimson Wife said...

I think the Oxford comma brings clarity to the items in the list. It drives me nuts that many places have dropped it (like the NYT).

My kids love the picture book version of Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!

Debbie Stier said...

How many spaces do you use between sentences? I use two. I've heard you're supposed to only use one. I don't know when they changed that rule (or if it's an urban myth), but it's way to ingrained at this point for me to change.

Anonymous said...

Debbie,

I was trained to do two spaces, too. In fact, a friend of mine lost points on a paper because she didn't space two times after the period. She had never heard of that before.

SusanS

ChemProf said...

In the old typewriter days, the standard was two spaces after a period. Some people argue that with modern typefaces there is no reason to do so (but these people are wrong).

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/01/you-can-have-my-double-space-when-you-pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands/69592/

ChemProf said...

I am also a fan of the Oxford comma, by the way. Just old fashioned I guess!

Anonymous said...

"In the old typewriter days, the standard was two spaces after a period. Some people argue that with modern typefaces there is no reason to do so (but these people are wrong)."

Also, some of us who program computers for a living have a strong preference (when typing) for mono-spaced fonts. Like Courier.

-Mark Roulo

Crimson Wife said...

I'm too young for typewriting (tail end of Gen X, almost Gen Y) so I learned a single space. I'd actually never heard of the double space thing until fairly recently.

Independent George said...

What kind of sandwiches do you have?

Turkey, BLT, peanut butter and jelly.

What's in a BLT?

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

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