Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Posts Tagged ‘Vampire Weekend

Set Your Commas Free!

with 8 comments

I have a beef with the Oxford comma.

Just to give you the background, the Oxford comma, in addition to being the title of a Vampire Weekend song, is also called the serial comma. This is where you use a comma before the final item in a list.

For example: My desk is wooden, old, and cluttered.

Notice the comma after the word old. That, my friends, is the Oxford comma. It’s promoted in a lot of writing guides including The Chicago Manual of Style and one of my all-time favorite books – Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

This comma is so important that many writers will harangue for hours about how it’s the single most important thing that makes English readable.

I think it sucks.

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Written by Nathanael Green

February 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm