About an Oxford Comma

23 Aug

My friend Rima says I use too many commas. She’s probably right, and okay. Just last weekend, I was out to breakfast with my friend Micah, and the lack of an Oxford comma caused me to misread the menu. I talked too much about this to my server. Micah said she probably thought I was trying to hit on her. I was not. I was just trying to let the world know I give a fuck about an Oxford comma.

David Wanczyk has an awesome This Modern Writer essay up at PANK Blog about commas, those little things we think too much or not enough about. I think a lot about a comma these days.

My great poetry teacher, William Stewart, used to tell us that he fell in love with language when he realized a simple statement about the weather could be reordered in nearly innumerable ways. On Sunday there may be thunder all through the region. On Sunday, there may be, all through the region, thunder. As a stormy college student, I thought I was learning an elementary lesson. Now, though, I see the small difference in connotation that the reorganization can bring, and it can be hard to know where to put the thunder.

One Response to “About an Oxford Comma”

  1. Amber Sparks August 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I love this. That’s what I love about oxford commas–punctuation, in fact–period. (See how I did that?) Ever since I was a kid learning how to diagram. I love building little houses of language. Reordering words and creating new meanings, like the quote says.

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