the case for the oxford comma

Source: thegloss.com ( I posted this on my FB page . . . and had a fun discussion. See below!)

  • Gordon Christo I understand the commas in a series as a substitute for “and” (apples and pears and peaches and bananas). Since the final “and” remains there is no need for the comma. My wife disagrees with me.

    Monday at 11:53pm · Unlike ·  2 people
  • Fylvia Fowler Kline I personally favor AP over Chicago; and hence don’t use the Oxford comma, but this illustration makes a strong defense for it!

    Yesterday at 7:03am · Like
  • Edwin Skau There’s the classic example of a book dedication that argues in favor of the oxford comman. It goes, “To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.”

    Yesterday at 9:57am · Like
  • Edwin Skau More serial comma fun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma

    Yesterday at 10:03am · Unlike ·  1 person
  • Gordon Christo Wikipedia gives the example of “my mother, Ayn Rand, and God.” If you use the Oxford comma you could create ambiguity with the possibility that Ayn Rand is in apposition to “my mother.”

    17 hours ago · Unlike ·  1 person
  • Fylvia Fowler Kline Gordy, In the Wiki instance it could also just be a serial comma listing all three–mother; Ayn Rand; and God. But, like you said it could also mean that Ayn is my mother. Perhaps the solution to the ambiguity in such an instance is to use a semi colon!

    14 hours ago · Like
  • Edwin Skau The solution to the ambiguity is to change the order. God, Anyn Rand, and my mother.

    13 hours ago · Like ·  1 person
  • Fylvia Fowler Kline ‎@Eddy, Not really. This could imply that God’s name is Ayn Rand.

    12 hours ago · Like ·  1 person
  • Edwin Skau Could it?

    7 hours ago · Like
  • Gordon Christo I say, just leave off the comma.

    7 hours ago · Like
  • Fylvia Fowler Kline I declare the Christo-Skau method is a win–Change the order and leave out the comma. And if there’s still ambiguity, cave in and use the semi colon! This has been fun, in a geeky sort of way. Perhaps our next discussion should be poetic meter in the Psalms and see how much I remember from your class, Gordy!

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