Posts Tagged ‘Web’

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.

Tweet Me from http://grammarcops.wordpress.com

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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:

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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On Twitter today, we saw a great retweet that we had to mention on our blog:

“RT … i’ve seen it … Let’s eat Grandpa. Let’s eat, Grandpa. Grammar saves lives!”

What a fantastic example of comma clout! Thanks for the update.

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We are always looking for comma clout … we crave instances in which the comma is required, supported, and even touted.

Today, we found another such situation in an article about business writing in email. (click here to read the entire post)

Here are a few excerpts we wish to emphasize:

“1.  Use a comma after “Hi” or “Hello” in your greeting. Omitting the comma after the initial greeting in an e-mail (such as “Hi Calmetta”) is so commonplace that it may eventually become standard usage. Until that happens, though, leaving out the comma can send the message right off the bat that the writer does not understand punctuation rules. And that’s the wrong message to send when you’re not sure whether a boss or potential employer is a stickler on writing rules.”

Here is the general guideline: Use commas to set off the name of a person written to in a direct address. (Example: Hi, John.) Note that this greeting is different from “Dear John,” which is often used in writing letters. “Dear John” doesn’t require a comma because “dear” is an adjective – adding a single-word description to the name of the person you are addressing. However, both “Dear John” and “Hi, John” require punctuation after John to set off the name at the beginning of a letter or e-mail. For “Dear John,” use a comma; after “Hi, John,” use either a period or a dash.

And …

“4. Avoid too-casual closings. Ending messages with a standard sign-off such as “See ya” or “Later” can add a touch of your personality when communicating with friends, but play it safer in business e-mails. Opt for a standard complimentary closing such as “Sincerely,” “Respectfully” or “Thanks in advance.” And remember to use a comma after the closing before adding your name on the next line.”

Thanks to Calmetta Coleman of culpwrit.

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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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Actually, the following Craig’s List job posting headline may need a colon instead of a comma:

“Part-Time Job Readiness Class Instructors Needed”


(click here to see the real job posting)

Unless this is to say that job readiness is to be part-time (we’d think not), it needs treatment:

As is: “Part-Time Job Readiness Class Instructors Needed”

With Colon Clout: “Part-Time: Job Readiness Class Instructors Needed”

Even better: “Part-Time Instructors Needed: Job Readiness Class”

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

“Generic Drug Recall Linked to Deaths”


(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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Oh, Oprah!

Oh dear. This Oprah.com headline is in desperate need of a comma!

“How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex with Dr. Laura Berman”


(click here to see the real Web site)

As is: “How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex with Dr. Laura Berman”

With Comma Clout: “How to talk to Your Kids About Sex, with Dr. Laura Berman”

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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)


(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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