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use of the comma raises it's head again

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by RAP72 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:39 pm

seen on the BBC website. :D
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by Chris_R » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:04 pm

I was always taught that commas separated the items of a list with the exception of the last item which was separated by the word "and". The commas signify a pause if the list was being read out aloud, a pause not being required for the last item as the word "and" tells the listener that the final item is now reached. For me the phrase is correctly punctuated.
Now, if there had been an apostrophe incorrectly placed.... on that we are definitely the experts!
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by AH1951 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:15 pm

Great piece about this in The Telegraph.

I love Steve's deliberate THREE errors in the title!
:) :) :)

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by Keith » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:21 pm

I agree with you Chris. But the "Oxford comma" does have its place sometimes, but not (in my view) very often. Note the comma before the conjunction "but" in the previous sentence; it is required in this case because the sentence has two independent clauses "the Oxford comma does have its place sometimes" and "not very often". However, as seen in the BBC news item, this Oxford (or serial) comma thing is very much open to interpretation.

Not like apostrophe usage, which follows clear rules.

I've got all of Phillip Pullman's books (note the apostrophe!) but I would argue the point with him about the use (or lack of) a comma in this instance.
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by AH1951 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:32 pm

Regarding the apostrophe, the man who campaigned for many years about its correct usage has relinquished that role.

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by AH1951 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:36 pm

:)

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by Chris_R » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:58 pm

Indeed John Richards has relinquished the role but those of us who care about apostrophes and their use can be reassured that www.apostrophe.org.uk is still alive and kicking and will be maintained for the foreseeable future.
While on the subject of apostrophes, Keith did comment a few days ago on a certain case of apostrophe abuse but I would suggest that in certain cases the use of an apostrophe on a plural can be permitted where the use will aid clarity for the reader especially when the plural is that of a set of characters e.g. 541S's or where the abbreviation is made of capital letters and full stops e.g. Ph.D.'s. However MOTs is never MOT's! The phrase "Hawaii is spelt with two is" looks odd whereas "Hawaii is spelt with two i's" is perhaps clearer, alternatively it could be written thus: Hawaii is spelt with two 'i's although this also looks odd.
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by Keith » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:04 pm

Chris_R wrote: "Hawaii is spelt with two i's" is perhaps clearer,


Have you been on the sauce?
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by Chris_R » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:09 pm

No sir! I don't drink much any more.
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by Keith » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:25 pm

Chris_R wrote:No sir! I don't drink much any more.



That's a pity. It might have given you an excuse.


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by colin7673 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:21 am

So would Keith kindly explain the Oxford Comma... when I was at school it was just a comma, I know I'm old but has the comma had a promotion ??
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by Keith » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:11 am

colin7673 wrote:So would Keith kindly explain the Oxford Comma...



As I said Colin, it's open to interpretation (which should not be the case when discussion English language punctuation, as it should be following strict rules) but there it is.

Let's look at an example sentence:

I was polishing my Jensens, V8s and six-cylinders.

In this case, and an example of the more common usage, there is no comma before the conjunction "and". In this case I am attempting to convey the meaning that I was polishing both types of Jensen that I own, V8s and six-cylinders. If, for example, I owned an Interceptor and two 541s. So I was polishing both types of my Jensens.

Now we add the infamous "Oxford" (or more correctly termed "serial") comma before the conjunction:

I was polishing my Jensens, V8s, and six-cylinders.

I this case, I was polishing my Jensens, my V8s (I have in this fantasy world a Sunbeam Tiger and a AC 428) and my six-cylinder Jaguars. So I've been very busy!

Hope this helps.

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by CF-105 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:18 pm

Keith wrote:
colin7673 wrote:So would Keith kindly explain the Oxford Comma...



As I said Colin, it's open to interpretation (which should not be the case when discussion English language punctuation, as it should be following strict rules) but there it is.

Let's look at an example sentence:

I was polishing my Jensens, V8s and six-cylinders.

In this case, and an example of the more common usage, there is no comma before the conjunction "and". In this case I am attempting to convey the meaning that I was polishing both types of Jensen that I own, V8s and six-cylinders. If, for example, I owned an Interceptor and two 541s. So I was polishing both types of my Jensens.

Now we add the infamous "Oxford" (or more correctly termed "serial") comma before the conjunction:

I was polishing my Jensens, V8s, and six-cylinders.

I this case, I was polishing my Jensens, my V8s (I have in this fantasy world a Sunbeam Tiger and a AC 428) and my six-cylinder Jaguars. So I've been very busy!

Hope this helps.

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And I read that as a proper name. That you were polishing your Aston V8.
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by Keith » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:50 pm

CF-105 wrote:
And I read that as a proper name. That you were polishing your Aston V8.


Excuse me? Can you run that one past us again?
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by colin7673 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:39 pm

Thank you Keith, how one small comma makes a big difference
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