Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Oxford Comma - Dead, Now Alive!

Writer's Note: I wrote this total grammar freak-out before I learned that, in fact, the Oxford Comma is still very much alive and happily living in England. But feel free to experience the event heard round the world.

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The Oxford Comma is Dead.

The Oxford Comma, best known in recent years for confusing the living hell out of college students and pleasing professional writers worldwide, died on June 29, 2011 in the pages of one of the University of Oxford's style guide. 

Please take a moment of silence.


Reactions were mixed - from downright annoyance to dismissive. Check out the range of emotions over at GalleyCat.

I'm trying hard not to be a cynic at this moment, but I think this is a clear sign of the apocalypse.
 
I watched three college students write "LOL" as part of a formal paper today, two had to be almost physically restrained from Facebooking while in session, and frankly, with each passing year, the percentage of students worldwide who believes that Wikipedia is a reliable news source is growing. This scares me. 
 
England. The Oxford Style Guide killed the Oxford Comma. England - the land of the The Bronte Parsonage AND Shakespeare AND Harry Potter? Well, just crack my heart, why don't you.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, the Oxford Comma is that pesky little comma that comes last in a list.

My favorite colors are red, blue, and green.

The Oxford Comma is in yellow.


 Simply put, the Oxford Comma exists to prevent modern society from tumbling ass over teakettle into a volcano of Textspeak and friend requests. 
 

I trusted you, Oxford University. I believed in your ancient ways and proud mannerisms to see us through this brand new age of social networking and Kindles with a bit of the old ways intact. I believed that, for every nine year old who writes "U R mi frnd" and does not and has never known that what she really means is "You are my friend," there was a die-hard English professor or doctoral student who knelt before the Oxford English Dictionary and genuflected.
 
And what do you do, Oxford? You kill the comma. You. This is like finding out that Santa Claus is not only dad, but also burns your presents in the chimney. This is bad.
 
Well, thank you very much.

UPDATE: The Oxford Comma is alive! It's alive! It's alive!!!


 
Whew. That was close

2 comments:

Ofelia said...

Funny, witty, and a truly reflection of the idiotization of North America education.

Elizabeth Symington said...

Thank you for enlightening me on the life and near death of the Oxford comma. I had no idea what it was and then upon discovery I realized that I helped keep it alive! Long live the Oxford comma!