Friday, October 19, 2012

Commercial Break

I interrupt my naming-origin obsession with a not-so-brief public service grammatical announcement.  Fear not, this is no treatise on your vs. you're or its vs. it's or there vs. their vs. they're.  If you don't already know when and when not to use an apostrophe, then get out of here.  Seriously.  I can't help you, you're (you are) too far gone.

This is about my true passion in life, the oxford comma (what? medicine? who's that?).  No, seriously.  There are very few things in life that I am willing to physically fight for.  The first is getting eight hours of sleep, and the second is the oxford comma.  There are many reasons for and against using it (which I've recently read on Wikipedia - check them out here if you care), but to me the only one that matters is that it removes ambiguity (ok, as Wikipedia points out, it's also possible to create ambiguity with the oxford comma, but it seems like way more often, it removes ambiguity).  In this case, I think a picture is worth 1,000 words:


End of discussion.

On another grammatical note, I feel pretty strongly about putting two spaces after each sentence.  I've recently learned that this is wrong (see this article: Space Invaders), and it comes from when we used to use typewriters and all of the letters took up the same exact amount of space, and it was harder to see where a sentence ended.  But now that that's not a problem anymore (unless there's someone out there typing in Courier, God help us all), it's outdated and silly (suppooooosedly).  But here's the thing, I STILL thing it makes a paragraph easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing.

More importantly, THIS IS THE WAY I'VE ALWAYS DONE IT.  In medicine, that is the absolutely wrong reason to do something, and you should question anyone who does something for that reason.  But with grammar, no one's health, and very little money, is at stake (seriously, no one is charging extra for more spaces, unless maybe you're sending a telegram, in which case, please rejoin us in the 21st century before we resume this conversation).

But for realsies, this is how I've alllllways done it, so it hassssss to be right.

the only difference is I'm a rebel WITH a cause. grammar.
For the record, I break grammatical rules ALL. THE. TIME.  (For examples, please see previous sentence where I typed in all caps and put a period between each word, or the previous three paragraphs which I spent talking about how I put two spaces after a sentence even though I know in my heart of hearts that it's wrong.)

But whatevah, whatevah, I do what I want.  No Slate article (aka THE MAN) is gonna hold me down.

1 comment:

  1. I SWEAR BY THE OXFORD COMMA! i'm so glad there are other people that care about it as much as i do.