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Grammar's great divide: The Oxford comma - TED-Ed

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If you read "Bob, a DJ and a clown" on a guest list, are three people coming to the party, or only one? That depends on whether you're for or against the Oxford comma -- perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time. When do we use one? Can it really be optional, or is there a universal rule? TED-Ed explores both sides of this comma conundrum.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jessica Ruby, Alex Gendler
  • Producer Zedem Media
  • Director Michael Kalopedis
  • Animator Maria Savva
  • Artist Dinos Hadjidemetri
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis, Mikaela Tsangari
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Pop band Vampire Weekend asks, “Who gives about an Oxford comma?
“This blew up yesterday when there was a rumbling that the University of Oxford was dumping its own comma. They haven't changed their authoritative style guide, but they've changed their internal PR department procedures that they use for press releases.”
“I once loved the serial comma, too, until a recent realization caused me to look closer and discover that the punctuation mark is extremely overrated.”
BuzzFeed graphics (comically) explaining why you should probably keep using the comma.
A Case for the Oxford Comma in One Screenshot.
“In short, it's as unwise to say always use an Oxford comma as it is to say never use one. The best rule is common sense.”
It isn't easy holding complex sentences together (just ask a conjunction or a subordinate), but the clever little comma can help lighten the load. But how to tell when help is really needed? Terisa Folaron offers some tricks of the comma trade.
Why should you even care about grammar?
It’s a grammar war out there! The best shots fired.
Websites for major style guides:
Associated Press: http://www.apstylebook.com/
MLA: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
Oxford University Press: http://global.oup.com/?cc=us
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03/12/2014 • 
 171 Responses
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03/12/2014 • 
 86 Responses
 / 86 Updates

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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jessica Ruby, Alex Gendler
  • Producer Zedem Media
  • Director Michael Kalopedis
  • Animator Maria Savva
  • Artist Dinos Hadjidemetri
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis, Mikaela Tsangari
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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