Mistake of the Month: Missing Commas

by • October 01, 2013

There are two types of writers in this world: those who use too many commas and those who use too few. While unnecessary commas can turn straightforward sentences into twisting labyrinths of syntactical confusion, missing a critical comma can change the entire meaning of your sentence. Consider the headline from the now-infamous Rachael Ray cover of Tails magazine: “Rachael Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.” While the line breaks of the original cover make it apparent what the editors meant to say, the lack of commas between… MORE →

The Oxford Comma Debate

by • March 12, 2013

Guest Post from Jocelyn Blore Proper use of punctuation used to be the territory of editors and lonely grammar enthusiasts. One punctuation mark, however, has been catapulted into the popular consciousness with articles by The Economist, NPR, Mental Floss, and others, not to mention a hit song by Vampire Weekend. I’m speaking of course about the Oxford comma. Quick test: In a hypothetical Oscar acceptance speech to the Academy, which would be correct? A: “I’d like to thank my parents, Bill Hudson and Goldie Hawn.” B: “I’d like to thank my… MORE →

The Oxford (Serial) Comma

by • January 31, 2013

Serial Comma (Within List Of Similar Elements) When creating a list or series of multiple things which are similar, commas should be used to separate each item in the list. N.B. American English requires the use of a comma before the last and in a list; British English does not. Be sure to follow local protocol, particularly in formal writing. Teenagers are often anxious to grow up, get a job, and move out of their parents’ house. If you look carefully, there are three things teenagers want to do: 1) grow up, 2) get a job,… MORE →