NATION

PASSWORD

The Oxford Comma

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Advertisement

Remove ads

Do We Need the Oxford Comma?

Yes
83
78%
No
5
5%
Spaghetti Meatballs
18
17%
 
Total votes : 106

User avatar
Purpelia
Post Czar
 
Posts: 31980
Founded: Oct 19, 2010
Libertarian Police State

Postby Purpelia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:00 pm

Is this one of those strange quirks of the english language nobody but linguists from england care about?
Purpelia does not reflect my actual world views. In fact, the vast majority of Purpelian cannon is meant to shock and thus deliberately insane. I just like playing with the idea of a country of madmen utterly convinced that everyone else are the barbarians. So play along or not but don't ever think it's for real.



The above post contains hyperbole, metaphoric language, embellishment and exaggeration. It may also include badly translated figures of speech and misused idioms. Analyze accordingly.

User avatar
Purgatio
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5498
Founded: May 18, 2018
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Purgatio » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:04 pm

Purpelia wrote:Is this one of those strange quirks of the english language nobody but linguists from england care about?


I'm not a linguist from England, but I will say when I was a student from Oxford the professors there really did insist on the Oxford comma in all essays. Not that it was an issue, the Oxford comma is just grammatically correct.
An Introduction to Purgatio

Results
Work, Liberty, Order
Essentialism - 57%
Punitive Justice - 93%
Progressivism - 71%
Nationalism - 64%
Capitalism - 100%
Laissez-faire - 100%
Productivism - 93%
Reformism - 86%
Other Values - Monarchism

Results
Fanatic Unitary - 94%
Fanatic Authoritarian - 94%
Moderate Isolationist - 62%
Militarist - 78%
Extreme Security - 86%
Fanatic Markets - 98%
Moderate Religious - 62%
Progressive - 58%
Fanatic Assimilationist - 90%

User avatar
Greed and Death
Post Czar
 
Posts: 49545
Founded: Mar 20, 2008
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Greed and Death » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:14 pm

Page wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:
Either way, it's going to be a hell of a party.

Comma placement is very important as well. For example.

Help uncle Jack, off the horse.
Or
Help uncle, jack off the horse.

Big difference between the two.


I'm now contemplating how exactly the request made in the second sentence would help Uncle.

If he were involved in horse breeding.
"Trying to solve the healthcare problem by mandating people buy insurance is like trying to solve the homeless problem by mandating people buy a house."(paraphrase from debate with Hilary Clinton)
Barack Obama

User avatar
Northwest Slobovia
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12095
Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:21 pm

Greed and Death wrote:
Victorious Decepticons wrote:I absolutely prefer the Oxford comma, and use it unless some paying client explicitly insists on not doing so.



How to Butcher Your Own Writing so it's Ugly and Ungraceful, also known as the AP Stylebook, attempts to disagree. So do those who slavishly insist on writing that follows its ugly dictates. I think both of those have no taste or sense.

Language is about more than raw meaning. It should flow well and be pleasant to read.


I am not a fan of the APA either. Generally I find any "rule book" on writing to be more of a series of guide posts rather than rules. In that regard I am a fan of Strunk's writing guide.

There's a big difference between style, which is a matter of taste, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling, which are not. I note that despite denying language is a set of rules, you're playing by all the strange ones English has about grammar and spelling. :P
Gollum died for your sins.
Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

User avatar
Eahland
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1215
Founded: Apr 18, 2006
Libertarian Police State

Postby Eahland » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:33 pm

I normally use the Oxford comma when writing. It can reduce ambiguity, and there's very little downside to using it. A lot of AP's recommendations are aimed at the specific requirements of print newspapers, where you want to save as much space as practical, because column-inches are precious. I don't have those concerns - an extra byte here and there isn't going to break my bandwidth budget, and, due to the way computers store files, it's likely to make literally no difference in on-disc storage size.

I usually don't use it in machine-generated text, though, because it requires an extra test to distinguish between a list of two items and a list of more than two items. Without the Oxford comma, you can just always omit the comma before the last list item.

Ethel mermania wrote:Comma placement is very important as well. For example.

Help uncle Jack, off the horse.
Or
Help uncle, jack off the horse.

Big difference between the two.

It's as much a capitalization issue. There's a significant difference in meaning between:

Help your uncle jack off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires assistance in masturbating a horse.)
Help your uncle jack, off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires some assistance in operating a lifting mechanism, also put down the horse.)
Help your Uncle Jack off the horse. (Your Uncle Jack requires assistance either in getting down from the horse, or killing it.)
Help your Uncle Jack, off the horse. (Your Uncle Jack requires assistance in some unspecified task, also put down the horse.)
Help your uncle, jack off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires assistance in some unspecified task, also masturbate the horse.)

User avatar
Rojava Free State
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8124
Founded: Feb 06, 2018
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Rojava Free State » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:34 pm

How has this gone on so long
political compass:

Economic Left/Right: -0.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.38
pro: marijuana, gun rights, private property, and sexy brown women

anti: fascism, communism, islamism, sexism, pan africanism, La raza, Warren Police Department (and most of the other police departments of metro Detroit except for Auburn Hills. They're aight), gun control, trump, obama, bush, clinton, reagan, carter, chipotle and snotty in crowd teens. Ugh I can't deal with them
Half Lebanese, Half Puerto Rican. All american. Not Kurdish at all.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lilahdog567/

User avatar
Purpelia
Post Czar
 
Posts: 31980
Founded: Oct 19, 2010
Libertarian Police State

Postby Purpelia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:48 pm

Purgatio wrote:
Purpelia wrote:Is this one of those strange quirks of the english language nobody but linguists from england care about?


I'm not a linguist from England, but I will say when I was a student from Oxford the professors there really did insist on the Oxford comma in all essays. Not that it was an issue, the Oxford comma is just grammatically correct.

I am not sure how those two are different. I mean, basically the british upper class cares about this sort of stuff and the rest of us in the world don't even know it exists. At least that's my impression. Than again english is only like #5 from the top on my list of languages in order of quality of my knowledge (not that you should be able to tell hopefully) so I might be wrong.
Last edited by Purpelia on Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Purpelia does not reflect my actual world views. In fact, the vast majority of Purpelian cannon is meant to shock and thus deliberately insane. I just like playing with the idea of a country of madmen utterly convinced that everyone else are the barbarians. So play along or not but don't ever think it's for real.



The above post contains hyperbole, metaphoric language, embellishment and exaggeration. It may also include badly translated figures of speech and misused idioms. Analyze accordingly.

User avatar
Kowani
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 19297
Founded: Apr 01, 2018
Democratic Socialists

Postby Kowani » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:59 pm

Greed and Death wrote:. Language is not nor has it ever been a st of rules.

Self awareness isn’t your thing, huh?
Spanish Atheist.
If an area was ours for 500 years and yours for 50 years, it should belong to us – you are merely occupiers.
If an area was yours for 500 years and ours for 50 years, it should belong to us – borders must not be changed.
If an area belonged to us 500 years ago but never since then, it should belong to us – it is the cradle of our nation.
If a majority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must enjoy the right of self-determination.
If a minority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must be protected against your oppression.
All of the above rules apply to us, but not to you.
Our dream of greatness is historical necessity, yours is fascism.

User avatar
Great Aletia
Attaché
 
Posts: 91
Founded: Sep 18, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Great Aletia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:01 pm

I am a fan of it.

User avatar
Greed and Death
Post Czar
 
Posts: 49545
Founded: Mar 20, 2008
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Greed and Death » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:23 pm

Northwest Slobovia wrote:
Greed and Death wrote:
I am not a fan of the APA either. Generally I find any "rule book" on writing to be more of a series of guide posts rather than rules. In that regard I am a fan of Strunk's writing guide.

There's a big difference between style, which is a matter of taste, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling, which are not. I note that despite denying language is a set of rules, you're playing by all the strange ones English has about grammar and spelling. :P


Guide post not rules. I have no Qualms about breaking them when it suits my Purpose.
"Trying to solve the healthcare problem by mandating people buy insurance is like trying to solve the homeless problem by mandating people buy a house."(paraphrase from debate with Hilary Clinton)
Barack Obama

User avatar
US-SSR
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1467
Founded: Aug 02, 2018
Corporate Police State

Postby US-SSR » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:57 pm

Stop me if you've heard this before: a panda walks into a restaurant, orders a meal, finishes it, pulls a gun, fires it into the ceiling, and heads for the door. "Hey, aren't you going to pay for that? And what's with the gunplay," asks the proprietor. "I'm a panda. Look it up in the dictionary." The dictionary says: "panda, n., a bear native to China. Eats shoots and leaves."

User avatar
Xmara
Minister
 
Posts: 2540
Founded: Mar 31, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Xmara » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:53 pm

I always use the Oxford comma. I like to make sure I’m specific. Plus it’s how I was taught in elementary school.
Last edited by Xmara on Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
/ˈzmaːrʌ/
Info
Our Leader
Status- Code Green- All Clear
I mostly use NS stats, except for population and tax rates.
We are not Estonia.
A 16.8 civilization, according to this index.
Flag Waver


About Me | Great Quotes from NS | Side note: I’m female.

Copy and paste this into your sig if you think we should colonize other planets

User avatar
Bear Stearns
Negotiator
 
Posts: 6421
Founded: Dec 02, 2018
Corporate Bordello

Postby Bear Stearns » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:54 pm

One thing that always took me awhile to adjust to is that the Oxford comma is not used in business writing.
The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. is a New York-based global investment bank, securities trading and brokerage firm. Its main business areas are capital markets, investment banking, wealth management and global clearing services. Bear Stearns was founded as an equity trading house on May Day 1923 by Joseph Ainslie Bear, Robert B. Stearns and Harold C. Mayer with $500,000 in capital.
383 Madison Ave,
New York, NY 10017
Vince Vaughn

User avatar
Necroghastia
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1715
Founded: May 11, 2019
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Necroghastia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:57 pm

Bear Stearns wrote:One thing that always took me awhile to adjust to is that the Oxford comma is not used in business writing.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
The Land of Spooky Scary Skeletons!

Pronouns: she/her

User avatar
Sverigesriket
Secretary
 
Posts: 37
Founded: Jul 07, 2019
Conservative Democracy

Postby Sverigesriket » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:21 pm

Eahland wrote:I normally use the Oxford comma when writing. It can reduce ambiguity, and there's very little downside to using it. A lot of AP's recommendations are aimed at the specific requirements of print newspapers, where you want to save as much space as practical, because column-inches are precious. I don't have those concerns - an extra byte here and there isn't going to break my bandwidth budget, and, due to the way computers store files, it's likely to make literally no difference in on-disc storage size.

I usually don't use it in machine-generated text, though, because it requires an extra test to distinguish between a list of two items and a list of more than two items. Without the Oxford comma, you can just always omit the comma before the last list item.

Ethel mermania wrote:Comma placement is very important as well. For example.

Help uncle Jack, off the horse.
Or
Help uncle, jack off the horse.

Big difference between the two.

It's as much a capitalization issue. There's a significant difference in meaning between:

Help your uncle jack off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires assistance in masturbating a horse.)
Help your uncle jack, off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires some assistance in operating a lifting mechanism, also put down the horse.)
Help your Uncle Jack off the horse. (Your Uncle Jack requires assistance either in getting down from the horse, or killing it.)
Help your Uncle Jack, off the horse. (Your Uncle Jack requires assistance in some unspecified task, also put down the horse.)
Help your uncle, jack off the horse. (Your unnamed uncle requires assistance in some unspecified task, also masturbate the horse.)

I have never heard the word off used to describe euthanasia. Anyways, this is also a problem in German - I have never learned it but I saw an image comparing two otherwise identical sentences changed by capitalization. I don't know how Germans speak the difference too, maybe it's contextual.

User avatar
Nuclear Wastelands
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 162
Founded: Dec 21, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby Nuclear Wastelands » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:24 pm

Whenever Possible, I always use the oxford comma.

It helps clear up confusion on my end, because lists are weird, and even as a native english speaker, I still mess them up.
Nationstate's #1 Doubleposter

RP Year: 2291 Political Compass | Savage.

User avatar
Northwest Slobovia
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12095
Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:35 pm

Sverigesriket wrote:I have never heard the word off used to describe euthanasia.

It's usually meant to mean "murder".
Gollum died for your sins.
Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

User avatar
Purgatio
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5498
Founded: May 18, 2018
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Purgatio » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:50 pm

Purpelia wrote:
Purgatio wrote:
I'm not a linguist from England, but I will say when I was a student from Oxford the professors there really did insist on the Oxford comma in all essays. Not that it was an issue, the Oxford comma is just grammatically correct.

I am not sure how those two are different. I mean, basically the british upper class cares about this sort of stuff and the rest of us in the world don't even know it exists. At least that's my impression. Than again english is only like #5 from the top on my list of languages in order of quality of my knowledge (not that you should be able to tell hopefully) so I might be wrong.


Thats my point, its not a 'British upper class' thing, its a grammar thing, its a rule intended to prevent confusion of meaning and clarify what you are saying. That can have consequences. Most notably, in a legal context, if I were to draft a contract, and I wrote a clause in the contract saying "the Hirer shall not be liable to indemnify for any damage arising from any acts or ommissions of the subcontractors, the entertainers and the interior designers", it would be understood to have a very different meaning than if I wrote "the Hirer shall not be liable to indemnify for any damage arising from any acts or omissions of the subcontractors, the entertainers, and the interior designers". In the former, you are talking about the "entertainers" and "interior designers" as exhaustive examples of "subcontractors", in the latter you have clarified that the "subcontractors", "entertainers", and "interior designers" are entirely separate categories and you are excluding liability arising from all three groups.

Just as a matter of conveying and effectively communicating meaning, the use of the Oxford comma makes a big difference in what message comes across. Its about precision of language.
Last edited by Purgatio on Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
An Introduction to Purgatio

Results
Work, Liberty, Order
Essentialism - 57%
Punitive Justice - 93%
Progressivism - 71%
Nationalism - 64%
Capitalism - 100%
Laissez-faire - 100%
Productivism - 93%
Reformism - 86%
Other Values - Monarchism

Results
Fanatic Unitary - 94%
Fanatic Authoritarian - 94%
Moderate Isolationist - 62%
Militarist - 78%
Extreme Security - 86%
Fanatic Markets - 98%
Moderate Religious - 62%
Progressive - 58%
Fanatic Assimilationist - 90%

User avatar
Cetacea
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5937
Founded: Apr 27, 2012
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Cetacea » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:11 am

Ethel mermania wrote:
Galloism wrote:Finally, a topic worthy of concern.

The Oxford comma provides clarity when doing groups of items that can be ambiguous. Use the Oxford comma.

(Image)


Either way, it's going to be a hell of a party.

Comma placement is very important as well. For example.

Help uncle Jack, off the horse.
Or
Help uncle, jack off the horse.

Big difference between the two.


Help uncle Jack off the horse
Help uncle Jack, off the the horse!
Help uncle, Jack, off the horse!
Help, uncle Jack, off the horse!
Help uncle, jack ofF the horse!
Help uncle jack off, the Horse!

User avatar
Page
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 11205
Founded: Jan 12, 2012
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Page » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:38 am

Cetacea wrote:Help uncle jack off, the Horse!


This is my favorite version of this sentence.
I am a libertarian socialist.
I am ungovernable.
I owe no allegiance to any state.
I am bound to my conscience, not to the law.
I stand for liberty, justice, and peace.


User avatar
The Blaatschapen
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 54822
Founded: Antiquity
Anarchy

Postby The Blaatschapen » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:18 am

The Archregimancy wrote:I would like to dedicate this post to my parents, Max Barry and God.


Awww, I didn't know that Max was gay.

Otherwise it would have been Goddess :p
Forumer mod, now a rocker mocker. Thank you Ringo
Heaven is other people
Behind the invisible hand of the market hides the iron fist of the state.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain
Silent is an anagram of listen.
Male. Please address me as 'he'.
Blaat - all fluff, all action
This is the 8th line. If your sig is longer than mine, it is too long.

User avatar
Sapporo Hyperspace Riftgate Laboratory
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 180
Founded: Aug 03, 2019
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Sapporo Hyperspace Riftgate Laboratory » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:29 am

I present to you: Ex-Presidents of Ukraine, my girlfriend and a creeper (aw man)
Last edited by Sapporo Hyperspace Riftgate Laboratory on Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
WELCOME TO THE SAPPORO HYPERSPACE RIFTGATE LABORATORY

FT/FanT
The world is divided into three: people who takes action against climate change, climate change deniers, and Russians.

User avatar
The Free Joy State
Senior Issues Editor
 
Posts: 10657
Founded: Jan 05, 2014
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The Free Joy State » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:31 am

The Blaatschapen wrote:
The Archregimancy wrote:I would like to dedicate this post to my parents, Max Barry and God.


Awww, I didn't know that Max was gay.

Otherwise it would have been Goddess :p

Very phallocentric to assume God is male. :p

There are times when the Oxford comma may be needed to ensure clarity (and, if that is the case, I will use it), generally it's a stylistic choice and in most cases it's not absolutely needed.

With the sentence: "Bring me my notebook, a pen and my cat." no clarity is lost with or without an Oxford comma.

With Arch's sentence, a serial comma might avoid confusion.

But avoiding confusion is significantly less funny, so YMMV.
"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison

My nation does not represent my beliefs or politics.

User avatar
The Blaatschapen
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 54822
Founded: Antiquity
Anarchy

Postby The Blaatschapen » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:39 am

The Free Joy State wrote:
The Blaatschapen wrote:
Awww, I didn't know that Max was gay.

Otherwise it would have been Goddess :p

Very phallocentric to assume God is male. :p

There are times when the Oxford comma may be needed to ensure clarity (and, if that is the case, I will use it), generally it's a stylistic choice and in most cases it's not absolutely needed.

With the sentence: "Bring me my notebook, a pen and my cat." no clarity is lost with or without an Oxford comma.

With Arch's sentence, a serial comma might avoid confusion.

But avoiding confusion is significantly less funny, so YMMV.


God is male, because Goddess is female ;) Why else have a feminine form precisely to point out a female God?
Forumer mod, now a rocker mocker. Thank you Ringo
Heaven is other people
Behind the invisible hand of the market hides the iron fist of the state.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain
Silent is an anagram of listen.
Male. Please address me as 'he'.
Blaat - all fluff, all action
This is the 8th line. If your sig is longer than mine, it is too long.

PreviousNext

Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Cybus1, Ifreann, Leninist Haven, Lost Memories, Nakena, Samudera Darussalam, Serconas, Souseiseki, The dictatorship of Constant Denial, The World Capitalist Confederation, Washington Resistance Army

Advertisement

Remove ads