The "Oxford comma" explained

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
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Dael Reader
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Re: The "Oxford comma" explained

Post by Dael Reader »

Tiny_Turtle wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 11:09
Dael Reader wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 08:31
Well, I just lost points on a review because I used the serial comma. The editor said it was "unnecessary" and reduced my points. This is ridiculous. I always use the serial comma because I follow the Chicago Manual of Style, which recommends it. And I do not believe my score should be lowered because of it.
I'm not saying that you should, or shouldn't, but you do have the option to contest it. Simply cite your source for the punctuation rules that you are following.
Dael Reader wrote: I was under the impression that you are only allowed to contest an editorial score three times. Since I am still relatively new, I was hoping to figure out more or less what the review editors are thinking before I start using up those. I understand and completely agree with the need to set grammar and punctuation standards at a high level, in order to provide a high level product. But our access to higher level reviews depends on those scores, and if one editor accepts a serial comma while another takes points off, I think there's a bit of a problem. Of course, there's also the problem of my own detail-oriented nature. If I make a mistake, I am glad that someone can point it out. But this use of a serial comma was an "option" not a mistake." I'm really surprised that the editorial team does not have a set style guide. That would clear up any and all problems right away.

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Dael Reader
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Post by Dael Reader »

Tiny_Turtle wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 11:03
"She bought red, green, and blue balloons. vs
She bought red, green and blue balloons."

The first sentence looks like she bought multiple balloons each a different color.

The second looks like she bought multiple balloons that are multi-colored with all three colors on each balloon.

That's just my personal take on it. Not from following any type of grammar rules. Which the average reader may not know, or even care about.

I often wonder why we need all the rules anyway, as I attempt to follow them. But, isn't the most basic rule of all that the reader understand what we wrote? And that commas, and other assorted punctuation, should be used in whatever place is appropriate to convey the message?

With all the Experts out in the world, who is the Ultimate Authority? In my mind...The Reader. The qualifying question... Did you understand me?
Dael Reader wrote:

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Dael Reader
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Post by Dael Reader »

Dael Reader wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 14:49
Tiny_Turtle wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 11:09
Dael Reader wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 08:31
Well, I just lost points on a review because I used the serial comma. The editor said it was "unnecessary" and reduced my points. This is ridiculous. I always use the serial comma because I follow the Chicago Manual of Style, which recommends it. And I do not believe my score should be lowered because of it.
I'm not saying that you should, or shouldn't, but you do have the option to contest it. Simply cite your source for the punctuation rules that you are following.
Dael Reader wrote: I was under the impression that you are only allowed to contest an editorial score three times. Since I am still relatively new, I was hoping to figure out more or less what the review editors are thinking before I start using up those. I understand and completely agree with the need to set grammar and punctuation standards at a high level, in order to provide a high level product. But our access to higher level reviews depends on those scores, and if one editor accepts a serial comma while another takes points off, I think there's a bit of a problem. Of course, there's also the problem of my own detail-oriented nature. If I make a mistake, I am glad that someone can point it out. But this use of a serial comma was an "option" not a mistake." I'm really surprised that the editorial team does not have a set style guide. That would clear up any and all problems right away.
Dael Reader wrote: I feel like the only real solution is to make sure I never use more than two things in a sentence. Then there will never be a question about whether or not the serial comma is acceptable to the editor, because there won't be any at all.

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Tiny_Turtle
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Post by Tiny_Turtle »

Dael Reader wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 15:08
Dael Reader wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 14:49
Tiny_Turtle wrote:
22 Jul 2018, 11:09


I'm not saying that you should, or shouldn't, but you do have the option to contest it. Simply cite your source for the punctuation rules that you are following.
Dael Reader wrote: I was under the impression that you are only allowed to contest an editorial score three times. Since I am still relatively new, I was hoping to figure out more or less what the review editors are thinking before I start using up those. I understand and completely agree with the need to set grammar and punctuation standards at a high level, in order to provide a high level product. But our access to higher level reviews depends on those scores, and if one editor accepts a serial comma while another takes points off, I think there's a bit of a problem. Of course, there's also the problem of my own detail-oriented nature. If I make a mistake, I am glad that someone can point it out. But this use of a serial comma was an "option" not a mistake." I'm really surprised that the editorial team does not have a set style guide. That would clear up any and all problems right away.
Dael Reader wrote: I feel like the only real solution is to make sure I never use more than two things in a sentence. Then there will never be a question about whether or not the serial comma is acceptable to the editor, because there won't be any at all.
An even better solution would be for there to be a set standard, with a guide we could access, like you mentioned. Unfortunately, that's not up to us. All we can do is just do our best.
:eusa-think:

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Yssimnar
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Post by Yssimnar »

moderntimes wrote:
02 Aug 2015, 17:44
This is taken from the actual Oxford University guide on grammar and punctuation, and as you can see, the comma prior to the "and" is needed to make sense out of the pairs of items in the list. And this is the "real" Oxford comma usage, and it's pretty much become the standard, both in the US and British stylebooks. So learn it, gang.
Thanks for the authoritative information! I also was confused about this after reading a different topic in this forum.
:wink:
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