Saturday, March 9, 2013

Even Dogs Care About Grammar

From 3/7/13

This loldog from I Has a Hotdog was too cute not to share. It's good to know that even dogs are discerning when it comes to grammar!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Oxford Comma

Tonight I learned a new trick via a blog from a fellow writer at Oak Tree Press.
D.R. at Merton College, where Tolkien taught
I didn't realize that the second comma in a series, the one joining elements and the conjunction, is called "The Oxford Comma." I suppose we could assume the rule is thought of as high class or stuffy somehow, but I was taught to use the Oxford Comma when I started grad school and have been a fan ever since. I agree that the job of punctuation is to aid with clarity. Thus, I dislike reading "My friend went to church, home and school" unless that school is indeed within the home (which I don't like either).

My students don't seem impressed by my preference for using this comma. Even though I tell them that they want credit for their first draft, their second draft, and their susequent drafts, they don't "get" it, and they usually omit the comma. I don't know why they should be so stingy with punctuation. After all, it doesn't cost them anything. Granted, this is still one of their lesser sins, but after having visited Oxford last summer (in search of the inspirations of J.R.R.T.), I will now not only teach the rule but the phrase. Poor students! But if they want to pass, it's best for them to put up with me.

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