Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When the Cats Are Away

I should have seen this coming. I should have alerted Buckingham Palace before they left, but I guess I was just so bloody excited that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were coming to my continent that I was in denial.

I wonder if William and Kate even know that the day before they left for their tour—the day when they would have been too busy transferring all of their carry-on liquids into 3.4 ounce bottles to notice—that England reverted back to its Sex Pistol "Anarchy in the U.K." ways and did away with the Oxford comma.

It’s actually worse than you think: it was the Oxford Style Guide that dropped it.

The Oxford Style Guide dropping the Oxford comma! That’s like Chicago refusing to serve the Chicago-style hot dog. It’s like Frankfurt banning the frankfurter or Brussels ditching brussel sprouts or Cologne outlawing nice-smelling liquids. (I want to say it’s ironic, but I’m terrified to say it’s ironic because of the Alanis Morissette backlash.)

The Oxford comma is the comma that comes before the and when listing items in a series:

I’d like a frankfurter, brussel sprouts, and cologne.

I get that technically we don’t need it because we’ve got the and there to separate the second to last item from the last. But I was always told the Oxford comma was optional, and since not too many things in the grammar world are optional, I appreciated having the choice.

What say you?

"God save the Oxford comma" or "Cheerio and good riddance?"


Reference:

Boog, Jason. "Oxford Comma Dropped by a University of Oxford Style Guide." Galley Cat. 29 June 2011. Web. 5 July 2011.

21 comments:

Crystal Pistol said...

You are hilarious! Brilliant post. Simply brilliant.

As for the Oxford comma, I say "Cheerio, old chap!" One less thing. :)

PS

Heaven forbid we endure an Alanis backlash. I've often wondered if she ever learned the true meaning of irony. ?

Jessica Bell said...

Yes! Save the Oxford comma! I always use it. And I always laughed when people told me never to use a comma before 'and'. "Well" I'd say, "you mustn't know about the Oxford comma. Shame on you." Boo hoo! I love the Oxford comma.

LOLOL at Alanis Morissette reference :o)

MartyrMom said...

OMG!!! I'm sooooo happy right now!!! I NEVER knew?!?!? The Oxford Comma........WOW!!

I just always thought it another ploy to confuse the grammatically insecure. I've spent hours, days, months (OH LAWDY....) and years trying to decide rather to put a comma or not.

PS was I suppose to put a comma after years?? Geesh....I say "cheerio, old chap!"

Clarissa Draper said...

What!? Did I miss the memo? Well, I'm horrible with commas anyways so one or two gone will only help me out. Unless I put it in...

Shannon said...

I think I normally pass on the Oxford comma. But then again, I'm quite positive I make up my own comma rules at whim.

Rachael said...

I always use the Oxford comma (at work, it's our style to leave the style - at least for serial commas - on whatever we're editing as it came in, and I've seriously considered sneaking one in). When I was teaching, I actually taught my seventh-graders what an Oxford comma is, and I may have told them excitedly, "Now you'll have an interesting topic of conversation at parties!" This is a sad, sad day.

Dylan Fitzgerald said...

GOD SAVE THE OXFORD COMMA!

We should start a campaign. I always use the Oxford comma, and it only just now got cooler because I never knew it had a cool name like OXFORD COMMA. I think I should get a Welsh corgi and name him Oxford comma. Then make him sit before a dog named And... wait... possibly getting too convoluted...

Shelly said...

Alas, the Oxford comma has gone the way of the dodo, soon to be wiped from our collective conscience. I shall miss thee sweet, hallowed mark of punctuation.

Jaya J said...

I won't miss it :)
Too many commas are very distracting anyway.

notesfromnadir said...

That's not right for the Oxford Style Guide to drop the Oxford comma. At least make it optional!

Meagan Spooner said...

I like the oxford comma in some situations, because it can save some confusion. For example: "I like to eat chocolate, sushi and cereal and milk." Becomes much clearer when you say "I like to eat chocolate, sushi, and cereal and milk." "Cereal and milk" being its own item in the list, not two separate ones.

Anyway, I think I'm in the minority. ;)

the late phoenix said...

...it's like the Hollywood Bowl suddenly not being a bowling alley!...

y'know, i looked up "oxford comma" at urban dicitonary, and surprise, surprise, it's actually a sex term of some sort...

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I think the Oxford Comma will live on, even without the treacherous Oxford Style Guide. It will in my writing, at least.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

This whole comma crisis makes me want to enjoy a bowl of cheerios, rather than say cheerio.

Liz said...

Knowing it was optional I used it half the time. I was more diligent when writing a press release or something else for work. I know this probably isn't a popular opinion but I am glad to see it go. One less keystroke :)

WalksLikeAnEgyptian said...

HAHA Dylan, your comment gets ten points!

I say FSM save the Oxford Comma! I use it religiously. (Eh? Eh? See what I did there? Oh, never mind.)

I think lists look naked and asymmetrical without it and I refuse to... not succumb to my OCD. Take that, you posh Oxford pinky-lifters!

Gorilla Bananas said...

I don't much like the Oxford comma, but I do think a comma is sometimes required before an "and". I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

RosieC said...

God save the comma! I like my commas. Well, not in other places, but I do like them in serial lists. Why would they do such a thing? I feel like it must be a crazy imperial plot to change the thinking of the colonies! :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't care what anyone official says, I'm going to keep using it, because anything that helps the reader know when you want them to pause, is a good thing.

Worrying about commas is for editors anyway.

Meg O. said...

I always use the Oxford comma. I rather like it.

Lorena said...

I'm sorry. I've never been very fond of commas, especially *that* one. Let "and" rule on its own!