Be a Comma Comma Chameleon

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Miranda B

comma chameleon

Comma, comma, comma, comma, comma chameleon! You come and go, you come and go! Culture Club reference aside, isn’t that the truth? As a writer, you constantly have comma questions when creating content. Does the client want you to go Oxford or sans what you consider to be excessive? Or are you working with an Oxford comma enthusiast dedicated to giving the Oxf.Com its just due? Either way, we have discovered the trade secret in keeping your comma colors as calm, cool, and collected as the Culture Club itself.

Ode to Oxford and Its Comma

Oh, the good old, literally old—like born in 1904 by F. H. Collins old—Oxford comma. The Oxford comma came from the man behind the Oxford University Press, Collins. He was the first grammatician to require use of this comma in “Hart’s Rules,” officially titled, “Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford.”

Survival of the Fittest Comma

By the way, we have to point out that the Oxford University Press gives credit for creating the Oxford comma—and a curse to so many a web content writer out there—to not just one but two fellas. That’s right, F. H. Collins did not act alone in this sneaky addition to our grammatical rulebooks today.

No, Collins was assisted by no other than Herbert Spencer, the same Herbert Spencer also credited with turning that timely phrase, survival of the fittest. Of course, our good old Oxford comma has also survived—from the dusty tomes of “Hart’s Rules” to the internet websites of today more than one hundred years later.

Collins On the OG OC

So what does the grammar man Collins have to say about using his comma creation? First of all, try and decode what he said about the OG OC:

“To me the comma is of value as marking out the component elements of a thought, and where any set of components of a thought are of equal value, they should be punctuated in printing and in speech equally.” So adding a comma between gapping, joining, bracketing, and listing commas is a good thing. It creates equality in your sentences.

Disrupting Your Collective Comma Concept

But before you go off and give the blanket vote to use the Oxford comma or go sans-serial comma, here’s a secret. Sometimes it works to use the Oxford comma, and sometimes it is best to avoid commas at all. The key is making sure your sentence makes sense by sneaking commas in as needed for clarity. Don’t let the comma rule you–rule the comma with your own comma rules. Just keep that comma cool, calm, and collected so it blends in like a red, gold, and green content chameleon.

 

“Welcome. I’m the Whispering Wordsmith of the Woods, An Old Man Willow type cunning the lit forest, Disrupting textbookish writers with grammar snaps and cracks.” As a professional web content writer for small-to-medium businesses, Miranda B understands how to effectively balance technical jargon and personal brand messaging. Her content is sticky, evergreen when expected to be, and always creative. Keep ’em coming back for more, that’s Miranda’s motto!


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