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Errors and / or Omissions, The Oxford Comma...

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Darmok, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. KrisW

    KrisW pfm Member

    Yeah.. After I posted that, I did spot a reading that suggests my new mate Phil had also bred the heir to the British throne, which I actually find funnier than the intended effect.

    (I'd prefer "a crazy llama-breeder named Phil, Prince Charles..." as it keeps the sentence simple.)
    Mike Reed likes this.
  2. Joe P

    Joe P certified Buffologist / mod


    Trek scholars are divided on this, as the Kirkian pause, though predictable, is occasionally unpredictable. I, know, that’s illogical, but that’s, the point.

  3. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    An interesting analysis, pointing out a real issue with the coin's text, but I don't quite agree with your conclusion: I think the version with the Oxford comma is still just as ambiguous as the one without. The Oxford comma's superpower is merely to show the presence of a list. It doesn't help 'pin the tail'. To fix the problem you've identified, a more major rewrite is going to be required. I can't think of any that flows as well off the top of my head.

    In reality, whether the Oxford comma is present or not, the only meaning that makes sense is that where the tail belongs exclusively to the final list item. So, that is how most readers will read it.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
    Mike Reed and KrisW like this.
  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    If I get any I'm likely to commit a criminal offence when they get introduced to Mr Vice and Mr Hammer.
  5. KrisW

    KrisW pfm Member

    Here's where one of my personal rules of writing comes in: If what I've written forces my reader to mentally search through all possible readings of the sentence in order to find the one that "makes sense", then the sentence is not properly written.

    The Oxford-comma version reduces, but doesn't remove, the ambiguity - the ambiguity exists because the inscription is a sentence-fragment, and without a verb, who knows what the intended meaning is. But given that it's a British coin, ostensibly issued by the Queen, the most obvious reading of the text is as a royal proclamation: "[Let there be] Peace, Prosperity, and Friendship with all Nations", and in that case the Oxford comma version is better than the one without.
  6. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I agree from a grammatical p.o.v., although there really isn't any ambiguity from simply glancing at the logo (if logo it is). Having only last evening read about the controversy on this in my newspaper, it dawned on me that all they had to do to pacify the Oxford comma fanatics and the ambivalent naysayers was to transpose 'prosperity' and 'peace', keeping the existing one comma. Prosperity refers to this country alone, whereas both peace and friendship refer to all.

    Doesn't flow as well? Ah, well; there's always a compromise.:)
    KrisW likes this.
  7. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Not a patch on Pinter pauses.
  8. vuk

    vuk \o/ choose anarchy

    nice outfit too.

  9. eternumviti

    eternumviti Bloviating Brexiter

    I invited Sue and James, and my parents.

    Though that does seem to assume that Sue & James are an item. Yours has it.
  10. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Also acceptable. The extra 'and' compared with the others is well worth it if we do wish to imply that Sue & James are together in some way. Not necessarily as a couple, although maybe, but some close relationship. If we are inviting one, we'd better invite the other.
  11. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    When Sue dumps James' arse, it will be:

    I invited Sue, James, and my parents, then I realized that I should decide whom I should keep as a friend; Sue, or James, and not invite the other. Sue has nice pins, but James has been my mate since pre-school; decisions, decisions.
    glancaster likes this.
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    At this rate I'd be surprised if James didn't sue for being in loco parentis ( Sure my Latin is wrong !), At least, 'loco' seems apposite!
  13. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    So I ask J, 'What gives?
    This dilemma is troubling'
    They're co-parenting now
    Had a conscious uncoupling

    'Invite us both if you like!
    It's totally cool, bro
    And I'll bring my new girl
    She looks like JLo'
  14. gassor

    gassor There may be more posts after this.

    The trouble with the Oxford comma is that if it acceptable before "and" in some cases then some numpties will always insert one before and all the time. Semi-colons can be used in place of it or the sentence can be re-arranged for clarity's sake.
  15. Marianne Gibbs

    Marianne Gibbs New Member

    I love semi-colons. I use them all the time.
  16. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr pfm Member

    darrenyeats likes this.
  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I've found that a semi-colon is 50 centavos or centimos in 2 central American countries or, indeed, half a port city in Panama. A geographical side to punctuation if you like.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  18. Beobloke

    Beobloke pfm Member

    I’m a big fan of the Oxford comma but I don’t believe it to be necessary in the case of the new Brexit coin.

    As to the coin itself, if I receive any, I shall be supergluing them to the pavement outside my local Wetherspoons, and watching the chaos that ensues....
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.

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