Sunday, July 10, 2011
From the Department of Issues Where No One Has Ever Wondered What Geoff Thinks About Them...I'm with Vampire Weekend on the Oxford comma thing. I don't care unless someone is paying me. In my own writing, I used to use the serial comma all the time because I was taught it as a kid. Now I eschew it except in rare cases, either to avoid an ambiguity I'm not sure the reader will instantly figure out or because I hear a distinct pause in that spot when reviewing the sentence in my head. But I have no reason beyond personal quirks to do it that way. Both including the comma and omitting it seem equally fine to me. Even when the lack of a serial comma causes some mild ambiguity, it's almost always obvious in context what the writer is trying to say. Nor has the presence of a serial comma ever struck me as some horrid nine-inch-high speed bump; I can't say I've ever thought about the possibility of it slowing me down as a reader.