Saturday, July 02, 2011

Comma or no?

There are some amusing articles about the premature announcement of the death of the serial comma--you know, the one that precedes "and" in a list. The AP Stylebook (for journalists) says discard it. Oxford, Harvard, MLA, APA, Strunk & White, and the Chicago Manual of Style support it. Such a controversy.

Jacket Copy wants to insert a new comma style: the Shatner comma. As in, "I'm, still, the, captain, of, this, ship, mister!"

Wizzley says there is no controversy; every authority but one supports the serial comma, and even AP says to use it when clarity is needed..

To prove their point, supporters cite this Merle Haggard photo caption, which is even mentioned in Wikipedia: "The documentary was filmed over three years. Among those interviewed were his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall."

This pictures was on the Making Light blog, and on other blogs. Making light labeled this "via Bruce Baugh."

As Wizzley mentions, you can even buy tees and hats proclaiming your support for the serial comma--under the name of the Chicago comma (for Chicago Manual of Style, of course). Go to Zazzle and poke around. There are all styles of shirts, not just the first four you see.