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Archive for the ‘comma confusion’ Category

Wayne, from Blaine, Minnesota, USA, writes:

AP headline needs a comma

Headline reads:  “Analysis: Summer vacation is over Obama”

Yahoo’s edition has the comma missing: (click here to view)

And so does the version on the AP’s site: (click here to view)

Do YOU know where the comma should go? Please comment.

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This tweet (from Twitter) needs a comma … where would you place it?

@EONpr: “Grammar Gossip pop quiz for pr scribes and copywriters from the Business Wire blog”

(click here for the story)

tweet needs comma

Without Comma Clout, it sounds as if the pop quiz is ONLY for those from the Business Wire blog.

With Comma Clout, the Business Wire blog pop quiz is for all PR scribes and copyrighters.

Be sure to enjoy the quiz!

Shameless plug for our sister site, Grammar Police a.k.a. GrammarCops: See the post Special effects (and affects) …

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A loyal reader sent us this photo and asks:

“Where’s the comma? Look at the caption of this picture. Must have been quite a press conference.”

where's the comma

 

Photo source: LIFE Magazine, Robert McNamara: Life and Times

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A lot of buzz around this issue today … Barrett got us blogging when he sent this tweet:

serial comma tweet

 

Per Wiki, the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma and the Harvard comma) is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (usually and, or, and sometimes nor) preceding the final item in a list of three or more items. More simply, as per AskOxford.com, the ‘Oxford comma’ is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list.

For example, this three-media list can be punctuated as either “Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter” (with the serial comma) or as “Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter” (without the serial comma).

There is no consensus among writers and editors on the usage or avoidance of the serial comma. Most American English authorities recommend its use, but it seems to be less frequent in British English. In many languages (e.g., French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish) the serial comma is not the norm; it may even be explicitly forbidden by punctuation rules – but it may be allowed or even recommended in some cases to avoid ambiguity or to aid understanding when reading.

Wikipedia actually has an excellent section on this topic. Take a look:

Contents
1 Arguments for and against
2 Ambiguity
3 Usage
4 References & External links

We have relaxed our own position on the use of the serial comma. Before text limits of 140 characters or thereabouts, we would insist, but now, we say lose any extra character you can while preserving meaning.

There are many views on this little mark. Click here to read one solution. What’s your view?

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On Twitter today, we saw this interesting profile:

“I find and mock punctuation errors on my blog, Apostrophe Catastrophes.”

apostrophe catastrophes

 

(click here to see the blog)

We love their site … and, we refer to it frequently.

We would like to take this opportunity to recommend some comma clout for their Twitter profile.

As is: “I find and mock punctuation errors on my blog, Apostrophe Catastrophes.” This sounds as if they correct only their own blog errors …

With comma clout: “I find and mock punctuation errors, on my blog, Apostrophe Catastrophes.”

Even better: “I find punctuation errors and mock them on my blog, Apostrophe Catastrophes.”

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Of course, we just had to post this article from The Globe and Mail! Now, this is true comma clout!

“Comma quirk irks Rogers”

(click here for the true story)

million dollar comma

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Got this spam/phishing email today about unusual bank activity and a possible suspension of a bank account … yeah, right.

Anyway, the email is in need of the Grammar Police and Comma Clout, so here goes.

“Dear Bank Customer_ ,

Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on your account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on your account…”

Comma Clout needed:

  1. remove the space before the comma in the greeting: “Dear Bank Customer,
  2. remove the comma before the incorrectly-used “their” in the first sentence: “… we had to believe that …”

Grammar Policing needed: “their” should be “there:” “… we had to believe that there might be …”

See the Grammar Police blog post: “There you have it …” for more on There vs. Their (and They’re).

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Not to make light of a serious subject; however, we believe this headline needs some comma consideration.

A wikiHow article has this title:

“How to Deal With a Genuinely Stupid, Mean Mother As a Teen”

CC0004 

(click here to see the real Web site)

It is not clear, from the title, who’s the teen.

As is: “How to Deal With a Genuinely Stupid, Mean Mother As a Teen”

With Comma Clout: “How to Deal With a Genuinely Stupid, Mean Mother, As a Teen”

Even better: “How to, As a Teen, Deal With a Genuinely Stupid, Mean Mother”

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We saw this headline on the People’s Pharmacy Web site:

“Generic Drug Recall Linked to Deaths”

CC003

(click here to see the real Web site)

We believe that a comma could clear up any confusion about whether the drug or the recall was linked to deaths.

As is: “Generic Drug Recall Linked to Deaths”

With Comma Clout: “Generic Drug Recall(ed), Linked to Deaths”

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We think this omission was a product of Ads by Google …

“Learn how to read and write English at-home with Penn Foster”

(the Web site does not seem to sport this error)

CC0001

(click here to see the real Web site)

As is: “Learn how to read and write English at-home with Penn Foster” (At this time, we have no comment about the misused hyphen in this ad.)

With Comma Clout: “Learn how to read and write English at home, with Penn Foster”

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