Champing with bated breath

Pfizer vaccine: effective, protective and safe.
Moderna vaccine: effective, protective and safe.
Oxford vaccine: effective, protective, and safe.

3 Likes

No argument, but how is this related to the discussions of English wording and usage?

(subtle Oxford comma joke)

3 Likes

About as relevant as the champing/chomping/etc thread, and much more helpful.

Points to Seth!

1 Like

Indeed! I hope Mr Cutler spotted it.

1 Like

Writing is the most important invention in human history, and no invention will ever surpass it in importance. It ought to be done right lest we diminish our Civilization. That’s why bate vs. bait, champ vs. chomp, and the Oxford comma et al. will always be relevant.

3 Likes

I’ve seen MUCH more relevant threads cut off MUCH quicker than this tedious one.

I broke it out of a larger thread to keep it from distracting from a larger technical discussion, I find it amusing, and it’s my site.

12 Likes

Good for you, Adam!

The Oxford comma is an abomination, though. :wink:

1 Like

As an engineer tasked with implementing for others, I appreciate the precision in complex descriptions as supported by the Oxford comma.

“It must sway to and fro, jump up and down, frolic hither and yon, and be constantly available and active.” is more easily parsed with the “extra” comma. Omission of the Oxford comma is considered discourteous in some circles for just this reason.

3 Likes

Whether it’s computers, code, convoluted legal issues, politics, art, sports or grammar, once a geek, always a geek.

2 Likes

The best reason to use the Oxford Comma is that it is God’s immutable law.

1 Like

There’s a good illustration of what might happen if, when appropriate, you don’t use it:

2 Likes

I have really enjoyed this thread. I suspect the answer to your implied criticism is simply don’t click on it. This has been a great diversion from the concerns about M1 and SSDs and other important issues. Thank you all who have contributed. It has almost made me comfortable my wife’s grave (justifiably) concerns regarding my (mis)use of language!! So you folks have helped me save my marriage!!!

3 Likes

The reason it is needed is because of statements like this as I once saw…

“After the break, I will be interviewing Nelson Mandela, a puppeteer and a sex toy collector.” Without the Oxford comma…one might think that Mr. Mandela had some rather strange hobbies.:blush::blush:

1 Like

With the comma, one might still think Mr. Mandela is a puppeteer, though not the collector.

Careful. Them’s fighting words in university English departments. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

In all seriousness, although it can potentially eliminate some forms of ambiguity, it can potentially create others. There are plenty of experts who advocate always using it, plenty who advocate never using it, and plenty who advocate being flexible - using whichever makes the text less ambiguous.

See also Wikipedia.

1 Like

With the comma it means he’s going to interview 3 people…Mr. Mandela, a puppeteer, and the collector…without the comma the sentence is ambiguous…at least the way I read the with/without examples. With the comma the three are clearly distinct. To infer Mandela is a puppeteer would need the absence of the first comma.

1 Like

“A puppeteer” could be interpreted an appositive describing Nelson Mandela. With or without the comma, the phrase is ambiguous.