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.


  1. Serial commas are like this, right?

    Yellow, putrid, and cheap


    Green, fresh and expensive

    I also prefer the latter example, but don't mind much either way.

    I'm digging the blog! Might have start one called "newly human" in honor of my two daughters, one of whom is yelling "get up! no!" at the TV right now. Guess I'd better go see what that's about.


  2. Get up! No, Big Bird! You have many reasons to live! There are 12-step programs we can get you into!

    Yes, you've got the serial commas sussed. And I dig your blog too!