“Who gives a f*ck about an Oxford comma?”
So says Vampire Weekend in their amusing little song Oxford Comma. http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1xk07o4g
I have returned from holidays to find that the comma key on my laptop is not working. And it makes me realise just how much I rely on commas. I briefly wondered if it was possible to write an entire novel without a comma. I’m sure some smart literary writer could do it. But I love commas. Absolutely love them. And [comma] I confess [comma] I am a punctuation Nazi.
As a professional editor [comma] I had to ‘master’ (as much as anyone can ‘master’ anything in the evolving world of English) comma usage to ensure that I was using it correctly and that when I ran training courses for technical writers that they [comma] too [comma] would know how best to use them. People tend to fall into one of two camps with commas: they either overuse them or they don’t use them enough.
I probably overuse commas. I admit it. My only defence is that I know how to use them correctly. So my style isn’t wrong; it’s probably just a bit outdated. Modern styles [comma] I’ve noticed [comma] tend to favour limited punctuation. But a comma [comma] used correctly [comma] adds so much meaning to a sentence and eliminates confusion and misinterpretation.
The comma-less novel is not for me. My laptop will be heading to the repair shop shortly.