The Oxford comma. Are you a fan?

by TheWriteStuff 23 replies
Anyone care to join in a debate on this contentious issue and perhaps provide some rationale to go with their argument? Personally I became a fan after I saw the Hitler, Stalin, and the strippers meme. But Im sure there is equally compelling evidence to the contrary.
#copywriting #comma #fan #oxford
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  • Profile picture of the author YoniLive
    As a copywriter, one of your jobs is to make the text you write as easy to understand as possible.
    In my opinion, without the Oxford comma, text is harder to understand.
    That's why I always use the Oxford comma.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by TheWriteStuff View Post

    Anyone care to join in a debate on this contentious issue and perhaps provide some rationale to go with their argument? Personally I became a fan after I saw the Hitler, Stalin, and the strippers meme. But Im sure there is equally compelling evidence to the contrary.
    This is the reason why this forum is getting harder and harder to contribute to.

    How do you feel about apostrophes, when turning I am into I'm?

    I guess if you are trying to persuade English teachers, MLA Style editors, and grammar nazis...it might be a salient rather than this spurious post.

    David Oglilvy: " I don't know the rules of grammar...if you are trying to persuade people to do something...use their language...the vernacular."

    You know, I've always had great copy editors or proofreaders (for non copy work) who were excellent at what they did and earned their fee. Could they write copy to triple or more their income...not in an Oxford, Harvard, and/or a New York minute.

    Is there anyone here, serious about learning how to write copy or make it a career?

    GordonJ

    PS. Content writers are a half cent a dozen. But many love the serial comma, in their very boring, dull, and unimaginative scribblings (penny a word at that).
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    • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
      Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

      Is there anyone here, serious about learning how to write copy or make it a career?
      I'm here to learn and share but it is a bit like the Catholic Church in a modern society.

      There are a lot of preachers and many of those don't even show up even once a week and the echoes bounce off the hollow walls with a resounding emptiness.

      The occasional echo is shattered by some mindless comment added for "God knows what reason?"

      I was surprised when scrolling back through the posts here to the days when this section of the forum was a hive of activity and only had to go back four pages and it was 2014.

      Guess we should all count ourselves lucky that every now and then the likes of Rick Duris, Angie, Kay, Promotion Guy, Gordon, Ewen, Gjabiz, Marcia,Seth, Andrew, Raydal, Alex Cohen, Mike Humpheys, and a few others still chime in.

      The hey days of the Mcleods, Garfinkels, Michel Fortin's, Copy nazi and those that preceded them has passed.

      best regards,

      Ozi
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I began reading books at age 3 and haven't stopped since.

    I began writing "stuff" at age 6 ....

    The ONLY time I had less than an "A" in any English or Literature or Composition class was in college when the Professor insisted on students quoting the "rules". I got a B in her class - I had the grammar and sentence structure "right" - but I couldn't explain WHY it was right. It just "was".

    I don't KNOW the rules....don't care about them....I use the Oxford comma when it seems called for and don't use it when it doesn't. I don't give it another thought. Until reading this thread, I had forgotten that little comma had its own name.


    The hey days of the Mcleods, Garfinkels, Michel Fortin's, Copy nazi and those that preceded them has passed.
    Ain't that the truth!
    Signature

    Saving one dog may not change the world - but forever changes the world of one dog.

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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      The only time I got a less than an A in English or Composition was when I pointed out to the Prof that eternal and immortal don't mean the same, like he thought.

      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      I began reading books at age 3 and haven't stopped since.

      I began writing "stuff" at age 6 ....

      The ONLY time I had less than an "A" in any English or Literature or Composition class was in college when the Professor insisted on students quoting the "rules". I got a B in her class - I had the grammar and sentence structure "right" - but I couldn't explain WHY it was right. It just "was".

      I don't KNOW the rules....don't care about them....I use the Oxford comma when it seems called for and don't use it when it doesn't. I don't give it another thought. Until reading this thread, I had forgotten that little comma had its own name.




      Ain't that the truth!
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  • Profile picture of the author crisiswriting
    I don't think that using Oxford comma makes your content First-Class, especially when it comes to readability score. I don't use it since my sentences are short and clear.

    See, great copywriters don't use it so hard. I bet - you already know that a sentence should stay clear and simple. Oh yes...I'm talking about that KISS (Keep It Simple Silly).

    Don't go beyond 70 characters. Use full stop. And don't pay attention to that chancy-fancy comma.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    All I read was strippers.
    Signature
    Hi
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    A university that has a marketing MBA program in the US,
    POSSIBLY TEACHES THIS, yet they called in outside help to
    sell the program.

    The outside guy who got the contract to enroll students in that program,
    turned around and snuck me in the back door to save his ass.

    Rather ironic, I had never heard of an Oxford comma
    until this post goes in to sell what those who know and use them
    COULDN'T SELLl what they teach...MARKETING!

    I've had no University education.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author 1Bryan
    Originally Posted by TheWriteStuff View Post

    Personally I became a fan after I saw the Hitler, Stalin, and the strippers meme.
    I'm a fan of loose women, fast money, cold beer, the Yankees, Knicks, and Giants.

    But you chose the Oxford comma.

    Huh.

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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I'll have you know that the Oxford comma won't call you a loser, no matter how big you lose, won't talk back to you, won't have its mother move in with you, won't divorce you for a richer guy/younger woman/younger and richer anything. And you can talk its ear off and it will let you.

      Originally Posted by 1Bryan View Post

      I'm a fan of loose women, fast money, cold beer, the Yankees, Knicks, and Giants.

      But you chose the Oxford comma.

      Huh.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    And you can talk its ear off and it will let you.
    Because it just doesn't care.... or because it has no ears? I've never gotten that close to an Oxford comma myself....
    Signature

    Saving one dog may not change the world - but forever changes the world of one dog.

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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      None of those. It's always too high on pot to care... or even follow what you say.

      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Because it just doesn't care.... or because it has no ears? I've never gotten that close to an Oxford comma myself....
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  • Profile picture of the author suhaimakhan
    I was not a fan of Oxford comma, until I realized what it actually meant and how it can be used. A sentence does become clear when you know where and when to use it. However, if the same sentence is rephrased to show clarity and does not misinterpret anything, then it's necessarily not required to use the Oxford comma.
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  • The Oxford comma is not necessary, even for so called grammar nazis. I believe in good grammar though,
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  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    I don't know about the Oxford comma, but I do know that punctuation saves lives!

    Take the following sentence (with and without a comma)...

    Let's eat, Grandma

    -OR-

    Let's eat Grandma

    The first one is inviting Granny to join us for a meal - In the second one, Granny is on the menu
    Signature
    "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
    SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      But not only does it save Grandmas, it saves real dollars too:
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/u...suit.html?_r=0

      (The link is to an article about a company in Maine that is on the hook for million of dollars for misusing the Oxford comma).

      Originally Posted by SARubin View Post

      I don't know about the Oxford comma, but I do know that punctuation saves lives!

      Take the following sentence (with and without a comma)...

      Let's eat, Grandma

      -OR-

      Let's eat Grandma

      The first one is inviting Granny to join us for a meal - In the second one, Granny is on the menu
      Save
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      • Profile picture of the author SARubin
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        But not only does it save Grandma's, it saves real dollars too:
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/u...suit.html?_r=0

        (The link is to an article about a company in Maine that is on the hook for million of dollars for misusing the Oxford comma).
        Wow, one comma is gonna cost the Oakhurst Dairy $10,000,000 ? That's insane.

        I wonder how much I could sell a punctuation mark for on Ebay?
        Signature
        "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
        SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          I'm betting Oakhurst Dairy'll be willing to pay good money for a few of 'em Oxford commas. They now have strong proof they come in handy! Just make sure your copy emphasizes they don't expire and you should be good to go.

          Originally Posted by SARubin View Post

          Wow, one comma is gonna cost the Oakhurst Dairy $10,000,000 ? That's insane.

          I wonder how much I could sell a punctuation mark for on Ebay?
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  • Profile picture of the author Diana S
    https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/22383.aspx - See #7.

    I am also a fan of the Oxford comma, but only when it helps with clarity.

    1. "I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

    vs.

    "I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand, and God" - This makes a huge difference!

    2. "My favourite fruits are apples, oranges and bananas."

    vs.

    "My favourite fruits are apples, oranges, and bananas." - Not much of a difference with the comma.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Does the expression 'Turning in his/her grave' have an opposite? Because Ayn Rand is doing the opposite of it just about now.

      Originally Posted by Diana S View Post

      https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/22383.aspx - See #7.

      I am also a fan of the Oxford comma, but only when it helps with clarity.

      1. "I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

      vs.

      "I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand, and God" - This makes a huge difference!

      2. "My favourite fruits are apples, oranges and bananas."

      vs.

      "My favourite fruits are apples, oranges, and bananas." - Not much of a difference with the comma.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I sometimes use it and sometimes I don't. I read earlier that a trucking company sued their bosses for certain things that should or shouldn't be happening (wage related). In court, the judge ruled in favour of the plaintiffs because of one missing Oxford comma.
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    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Check out my site or Blog. Ask if you have questions.

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  • Profile picture of the author Paulward
    I'm a writer and I use the Oxford comma. Only two weeks ago a company in Maine, Oakhurst Dairies, lost a court case about overtime for its' drivers because of a lack of an Oxford comma.

    It's going to cost them $10m in back overtime payments, so I guess you could say the Oxford comma is important.
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    Not using the Oxford comma creates confusion

    I love my parents, Oprah and Dr. Phil.

    I love my parents, Oprah, and Dr. Phil.

    Nuff' said!

    Thank you.

    EDIT: P.S. Missed Post #20, :-)
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