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The Oxford Comma

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

Do We Need the Oxford Comma?

Yes
79
77%
No
5
5%
Spaghetti Meatballs
18
18%
 
Total votes : 102

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Sverigesriket
Secretary
 
Posts: 35
Founded: Jul 07, 2019
Conservative Democracy

The Oxford Comma

Postby Sverigesriket » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:03 am

The oxford comma is a comma used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before "and" or "or". This is to clearly distinguish the items from each other.

For example, the sentence "I'd like to dedicate this book to my parents, John, and Mary" clearly states at least 3 people: the parents (can be more than one, hence "at least"), John, and Mary. If there were no oxford comma, it would be "I'd like to dedicate this book to my parents, John and Mary" which implies that John and Mary are the parents.

There is an NS issue about this. This has been mentioned time and time again in different NSG threads. Let's end this once and for all.

EDIT: To clarify I am in favor of the oxford comma.
Last edited by Sverigesriket on Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Gopnikea
Envoy
 
Posts: 276
Founded: Nov 04, 2017
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Gopnikea » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:07 am

If it was used in a sentence like that, the oxford comma would be necessary. But, if the sentence were to be like “I’d like to dedicate this book to John, Mary and my parents.”, the oxford comma can either be put after ‘Mary’ or not put at all.

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Vistulange
Minister
 
Posts: 3187
Founded: May 13, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vistulange » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:07 am

While I can't say something as definitive as "we need it", it's damn useful. I use it all the time, and when reading, it makes it so much more easier to distinguish, lessening confusion.
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Galloism
Khan of Spam
 
Posts: 61623
Founded: Aug 20, 2005
Father Knows Best State

Postby Galloism » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:08 am

Finally, a topic worthy of concern.

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

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Ethel mermania
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Founded: Aug 20, 2010
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ethel mermania » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:41 am

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.
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Zurkerx
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Founded: Jan 20, 2011
Capitalizt

Postby Zurkerx » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:13 am

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)


As an author, I do agree: it's important.
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The Galactic Liberal Democracy
Minister
 
Posts: 2508
Founded: Jun 13, 2018
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Galactic Liberal Democracy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:16 am

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)

Delete this. You have caused a great pain to this forum.

I always use the Oxford comma unless I forget to, I'm bothered when it's not used.
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Forsher
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Forsher » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:19 am

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)


So what you're saying is the Oxford comma makes life boring?

I suspect I typically ignore the Oxford comma because, you know, I put commas in with careless abandon. It's more interesting!
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United Massachusetts
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Founded: Jan 17, 2016
Left-wing Utopia

Postby United Massachusetts » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:21 am

The Associated Press does just fine without the Oxford comma.
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The Two Jerseys
Postmaster-General
 
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Founded: Jun 07, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby The Two Jerseys » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:21 am

I always use it.
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.

Unless that is one completely fucked up to do list, a comma isn't even needed there...
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The Galactic Liberal Democracy
Minister
 
Posts: 2508
Founded: Jun 13, 2018
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Galactic Liberal Democracy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:24 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.

Shouldn't the first be "Help uncle Jack off the horse." ? It is already clear and the comma looks unnecessary. In fact, capitalization seems to be the main problem.
Last edited by The Galactic Liberal Democracy on Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
NOT STORMTROOPERS
Cossack Khanate wrote:This shall forever be known as World War Sh*t: Newark Aggression. Now if I see one more troop deployed, I will call on the force of all the Hindu gods to reverse time and wipe your race of the face of the planet. Cease.

The Black Party wrote:(TBP kamikaze's into all 99999999999 nukes before they hit our territory because we just have that many pilots ready to die for dah blak regime, we also counter-attack into your nation with our entire population of 45 million because this RP allows it.)

El-Amin Caliphate wrote:Galatic Liberal Democracy short-circuits all of NS with FACTS and LOGIC

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Marxist Germany
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Founded: Jun 07, 2018
Corporate Bordello

Postby Marxist Germany » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:25 am

We do
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The New California Republic
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 20402
Founded: Jun 06, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby The New California Republic » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:02 am

I use the Oxford comma whenever I think it'll avoid confusion.
Last edited by Friedrich Nietzsche on Thu Jan 03, 1889 13:05 pm, edited 999 times in total.

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Greed and Death
Post Czar
 
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Founded: Mar 20, 2008
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Greed and Death » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:07 am

If the context makes the meaning clear which it does 90% of the time then the oxford is optional. News papers for instance leave off the Oxford, unless the context is ambiguous, to save space. Language is not nor has it ever been a set of rules.
Last edited by Greed and Death on Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Little St Nick
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Founded: Jul 25, 2017
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Little St Nick » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:09 am

In Maine, it's a $5 million dollar question, which remains unanswered.

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Nuroblav
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 123
Founded: Nov 13, 2019
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Nuroblav » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:15 am

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)

Heheheheheheheh

Another good example is 'I like cooking, my family, and pets.'

If I read that someone 'liked cooking their family and pets' I'd be a bit worried to say the least.
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Necroghastia
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Necroghastia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:52 am

In addition to all the previously-mentioned reasons to use the Oxford comma, there's also the fact that it just makes things flow better. Commas typically denote a slight pause in speech, and sentences have a better rhythm as "X, Y, and Z" as opposed to "X, Y and Z."
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Page
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Page » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:07 am

Using the Oxford comma makes the meaning of the words 100% clear while not using it leaves it ambiguous. There is no downside to the Oxford comma, therefore it should always be used.

And to prove my point, google "comma lawsuit" and you'll find the story of how workers successfully sued for millions of dollars in unpaid overtime. The company policy said "Overtime will not be paid for x, y and z". The court ruled that the lack of a comma between y and z meant that overtime was owed to the workers. Which is totally awesome because the workers won, but yeah, use the Oxford comma.
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Dumb Ideologies
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Mother Knows Best State

Postby Dumb Ideologies » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:09 am

I've always used it because that's what I was taught and the sentence feels wrong without it even if it's not ambiguous.
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Page
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Page » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:14 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.


I'm now contemplating how exactly the request made in the second sentence would help Uncle.
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I am bound to my conscience, not to the law.
I stand for liberty, justice, and peace.

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Necroghastia
Ambassador
 
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Founded: May 11, 2019
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Necroghastia » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:18 am

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.

I'm assuming that would be for some sort of breeding program. That said, I also don't think the first sentence would need a comma at all... :unsure:
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Victorious Decepticons
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Victorious Decepticons » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:19 am

I absolutely prefer the Oxford comma, and use it unless some paying client explicitly insists on not doing so.

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


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.
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Dumb Ideologies
Post Czar
 
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Founded: Sep 30, 2007
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Dumb Ideologies » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:20 am

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.


He's a busy man with a lot of horseys.
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Greed and Death
Post Czar
 
Posts: 49322
Founded: Mar 20, 2008
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Greed and Death » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:32 am

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

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


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.
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Ethel mermania
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Founded: Aug 20, 2010
Father Knows Best State

Postby Ethel mermania » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:58 am

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.

Maybe uncle has Arthritic hands.
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