Oxford, Comma…and writing in semaphore

I’ve always been an avid user of the comma. When in doubt, I use it.  Like was that last one completely necessary? I only know that the comma usage seems to do no harm to the environment. My use of the comma, some would say my over use, pleases me. When I read it back, it seems natural. The brief pauses, the catching of breath, are clearly identified. This usage is referred to as the ‘serial comma’.

Serial comma, however, (there ‘ya go), has a slightly unsavory feel to it – like I’m committing grammar manslaughter. Stop me before I comma more! I much prefer the use of the term “Oxford comma” (same meaning as serial comma), and a term with which I recently became familiar. Thank you Lydia Davis. Not to mention my favorite Vampire Weekend song. This carries with it a much more refined sensibility – like I know what I’m doing. Which I don’t really and don’t give a damn. Now….don’t get me started about other writing flourishes – ellipses for instance. Or that dash I use all the time. Whatever that’s called (other than lazy grammar).

 

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