The Onion Reports…

The Onion Reports… January 8, 2013

4 Copy Editors Killed In Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence

We’re also getting scattered reports from London that sporadic gunfire has broken out between enemies and advocates of the Oxford comma.

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  • Andy, Bad Person

    Not much, though, because advocates of the Oxford comma are so clearly in the right.

    • Beadgirl

      Word. It’s such a no-brainer to me, I have a hard time understanding why people won’t use it.

      • Mark Shea

        You, me and him disagree! Die, heretic scum!

        • Beadgirl

          Stalin and JFK are on our side:

          I hope that’s the only time I write the sentence “Stalin and JFK are on our side.”

          • Anna

            It says “403 forbidden” when I click the link, but is that the “strippers, JFK and Stalin” one? If so, I, as a fan of all commas, Oxford and otherwise, regret to inform the creator of that graphic that it doesn’t really work. If you say “The strippers, JFK, and Stalin were at the party” then you have three people/groups listed, so far, so good. But you can’t just take out the Oxford comma and suddenly have it mean that JFK and Stalin were the strippers. That would require also inserting a comma after “Stalin.” But one is so busy seeing that the *illustration* changed that one doesn’t notice the actual lack of change in the sentence meaning.

            • Beadgirl

              Unless one re-writes the sentence as “We invited the strippers, Stalin and JFK.” :>

              • Anna

                There we go; I may have simply forgotten the wording or perhaps you corrected it for them. 🙂

        • I thought the absent comma (non-Oxford usage) was developed by newspaper typesetters simply to cram more words onto the page. I don’t know of a single coherent grammatical argument in favor of it; only the pragmatic one.

          On the other hand, if it’s an excuse to lob random and unjustified ad hominems, I’m all in favor! Anyone who argues against the Oxford comma is himself more a hiccup than a comma!

          • Andy, Bad Person

            I’ve read the argument that, when used in a series, the comma is a substitute for the word “and.” Therefore, the Oxford comma is redundant.

            I don’t buy it. It sounds like something Hitler would argue.

    • “joe”

      I agree entirely. The Oxford comma makes tricola clear, elegant, and something else.

    • Hear, Hear!

      Fr. Philip Neri, OP (Also Advocates the Frequent Use of Semi-colons)

      • Dr. Eric

        Fr. Phillip, I use semicolons quite frequently in my notes. They seem to separate procedures and diagnoses better than a plain old comma which might get overlooked.

        • Holy art those who use properly the Punctuation of the Most High!

          Now, we need to get to work on restoring the proper use of the subjunctive mood.

          Fr. Philip Neri, OP (Order of Punctuation)

  • Confederate Papist

    I like the Oxford commas, period!

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    The serial comma is necessary. Otherwise, you get author dedications like this:

    I would like to thank my parents, Chesterton and God.

    • Rachel K

      This made me laugh out loud.

      Once, when I had a list of things that involved clauses, the lack of Oxford commas made an overenthusiastic editor think I’d made a comma splice. The original sentence was something like, “When you create an essay assignment, it is critical to adhere to your curriculum’s writing standards, draft clear guidelines for your students and provide feedback for every step of the writing process.” Imagine my surprise when the published article read, “When you create an essay assignment, it is critical to adhere to your curriculum’s writing standards. Draft clear guidelines for your students and provide feedback for every step of the writing process.” If we hadn’t been using AP and I could have put in an Oxford comma, everybody would have gotten along just fine . . .