on the house

Since I had such a feeble post on Friday, I thought I’d treat you all to of John McIntyre’s rousing celebration of National Punctuation Day, in which he honours that most profound of all punctuation marks, the Oxford Comma. This one’s on the house:

The serial comma, sometimes called the Oxford comma, the final comma in a series, is both seemly and symmetrical. It marks a logical division and forestalls confusion. And for too long it has been neglected.

It has been scorned by newspapers from ancient times, for reasons no one recalls. Omitting it may have made Linotype operator’s job a fraction easier, or it may have saved some cheese-paring publisher a pennyworth of lead every quarter. But though there is no sound reason to omit it, and every reason to use it, the gnomes of the Associated Press Stylebook continue to shun it.

I have stood up for the semicolon, and I will not be silent as the serial comma languishes in disrepute.

Citizens! Are we not writers and editors? Do we not have independent judgment? Are we to remain in slavish subservience to the AP Stylebook? No! And I say again, no!. It is time we shook off our chains! To the Bastille! Down with tyranny! Up with the Oxford comma! To the barricades!

Now go use it. Special Bonus Points in some game you’re playing if you can use the serial comma creatively in the comments. Maybe special mention on Friday.



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