The Oxford Comma Is Safe … For Now

I love commas and spend a good portion of my writing life worrying about comma placement.  That happens when you are both completely anal retentive and OCD….

However, I may not clean up my blog posts until hours, days or weeks later and really get the placement right then.  I’m that rare writer that publishes first drafts and cleans them up into the finished product-if there is one-over the hours, weeks and months following the initial blog post. As a blogger, I do this in full public view.

Only those few people who actually read my stuff more than once or those who come across it later on see it at it’s best.  But that’s why blogging works for me…

Blogging is a way around the paralysis of perfectionism.

Anyway, I love this article from NPR as this writer seems to be my long, lost twin in grammatical and punctuational thinking….except she gets it right the first time and before publication.

Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full article from Linda Holmes at NRP:


I have a confession.

I am only too happy to emphatically defend split infinitives against the accusation that they are offensive in any language except Latin. I believe perfectly marvelous sentences can end with prepositions or begin with “and.”

I make up words, I write in fragments, I am absolutely not a flawless user of any kind of punctuation, I make noises in the middle of my own writing (like “AAAAARGH!”), and I often like the rhythms of sentences more than their technicalities. Run-on sentences amuse me. I frequently give the impression that the American Parentheticals Council has me on retainer, or that I am encouraging a bidding war between Big Ellipses and Big Dashes to see which will become my official sponsor. (“Dashes: The Official ‘And Another Thing’ Punctuator Of Monkey See.”) I write “email” without a hyphen, I am a big fan of the word “crazypants,” and my plan is to master “who”/”whom” only on my deathbed, as my ironic dying gift to absolutely no one, since there will be no one left to hear me.

And yet, even the rumbling of a distant threat to the Oxford comma (or “serial comma”) turns me instantly into an NFL referee, blowing my whistle and improvising some sort of signal — perhaps my hands clasped to my own head as if in pain — to indicate that the loss of the serial comma would sadden me beyond words.

This blew up yesterday when there was a rumbling that the University of Oxford was dumping its own comma. As it turned out, this wasn’t the case. They haven’t changed their authoritative style guide, but they’ve changed their internal PR department procedures that they use for press releases. The PR department and the editorial department are two different things, so this doesn’t necessarily mean much of anything, except that it’s maybe a little embarrassing to have the PR department of the university with which you’re affiliated abandon your style guide.

via Going, Going, And Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma Is Safe … For Now : Monkey See : NPR.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Education, Entertainment

One response to “The Oxford Comma Is Safe … For Now

  1. RFW

    Reminds me of “Eats Shoots and Leaves.” I too love the comma, but the dash – my favorite.


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