Posts Tagged ‘punctuation’

The results are in!

Well, the results are in! Shockingly, the majority of you think I have some issues regarding my passionate tirade against Oxford comma abuse:

Real poll

(48 percent translates to “the majority” in Squirrel Math.)

But, the joke’s on you, because I already knew that! HA!

But really, I’m just glad the choice of the die-hard Oxford commanistas came in last, and that I likely swayed .01 percent of them over to the good guys’ side. Perhaps there is hope for the English language after all!

2013: Our squirreliest year yet!

2013 was pretty good to me. I got married to my best friend. ALF was at our wedding. (True story.) I have awesome friends, a loving family and the privilege to live and run in Big Sky Country. My obsession passion for punctuation led to my most popular post ever (with an assist from the WordPress editors. Thanks, guys!)

And, lucky us, WordPress has real, live helper monkeys working around the clock to generate year-end stats for Squirrel Thoughts. Let’s take a look!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Has anyone fed the helper monkeys lately? They’re probably getting hungry.)

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hey, thanks!

Sweet thank-you squirrel drawing by this guy.

Sweet thank-you squirrel drawing by this guy.

Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by Squirrel Thoughts this week, no doubt because WordPress editors had the good sense to feature my Oxford comma post on Freshly Pressed (thanks for that, too, guys!)

This has been a rough week for me for personal reasons I may or may not get into later, so all the blog love has certainly lifted my spirits. (Especially from those Oxford comma-nistas out there who chose to pleasantly disagree with me. I know how hard that can be when you feel strongly about an issue …)
And I apologize to anyone who’s had that Vampire Weekend song stuck in their head since reading it. If it makes you feel better, I can’t get it out of mine, either.
Also — I know it might be hard to believe — this is not the first time I’ve freaked out and blogged about punctuation. I might feel more strongly about long-dash abuse than I do about the Oxford comma …
Again, thanks for stopping by! I’m having fun checking out all your blogs now. See you again soon!

Your reckless abuse of the Oxford comma is furthering the demise of the English language

Oxford comma-nistas around the world are having a heyday over a recent push alert sent by Sky News, which they believe is the end-all, be-all argument in favor of their precious punctuation mark.


Now, let’s be clear: The Oxford comma is necessary in this “sentence” as it’s written. Obviously, there are some pretty serious implications without it. However, this whole “sentence,” if you can even call it that, could be rewritten for clarity, and we would not have been subjected to all this nonsense in the first place. The Oxford comma-nistas would never suggest that though!

See, the purpose of a comma when used in a list is to replace the word “and.” When you use an Oxford comma in a list of three or more items, it’s redundant. You’re essentially writing “and and.” And that’s just silly.

Let me spell it out for you using another famed Oxford comma-nista example: Instead of saying “We invited the strippers and JFK and Stalin,” you substitute “and” with commas. “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.”

See how I used the Oxford comma there? Because it’s necessary for clarity. Without it, one could infer the writer is saying JFK and Stalin are strippers. Better yet, you could just rewrite the sentence to read “We invited JFK, the strippers and Stalin.” Because what kind of red-blooded American puts strippers before JFK, anyway?

(JFK. JFK may have put strippers before himself.)

I’m certainly not for an outright ban of the Oxford comma. I just ask that people tasked with the glorious responsibility of writing sentences pause to think about whether it’s necessary instead of blindly inserting it. Because if you can’t make that distinction, do you really have any business writing sentences in the first place? Especially those involving world leaders and strippers.

I mean, have you been on the Internet lately? Couldn’t we all benefit from everyone taking a moment to consider whether their sentences could be written more clearly?

And Oxford comma-nistas, let me ask you: With the current state of the English language, do you really want more people paying less attention to appropriate punctuation use? Do you want society to inflict upon your precious comma the same fate that has befallen the poor semi-colon? Just scattering it throughout sentences from time to time, showing no courtesy for its intended use? Do you really have so little respect for a punctuation mark you claim to love? HAVE YOU NO SENSE OF DECENCY?!

If you continue your misguided crusade, before you know it all the written word will consist of is emoticons and Oxford commas:

SmileConfused, Loser, and Dizzy. LOL!

So, knowing what the future holds, do you still want to continue on your quest? Let’s take a quick poll:


If your answer is still yes, fine. But just know you’ll be on the wrong side of history.

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