18
Apr
10

The Series Comma

I love the series comma.  I am a punctuation whore in general, but favor the comma and semi-colon in particular.  Ampersands, hyphens, and tildes…Oh, to live within a set of parenthesis!  Isn’t enclosing words in such a set sort of like giving them a hug?  Words need love.  Words are worthy.

It boggles me that some people willing leave the penultimate items in series PUNCTUNAKED.  Commas are such fun and are hard to mess up; how could a person not want to use them as often as properly possible?  Sometimes I extend lists to three items, just for the opportunity to employ a series comma.  Perhaps that is wild, crazy, and excessive; I am comfortable with that judgment.  Heck, I accept, enjoy, and welcome that judgment.

Recently one of my grammarian, ice-cream loving, and well-spoken friends posted a message on my facebook wall.  She does not use the series comma.  I am not quite over it, and it has (negatively) impacted my opinion of her.  I thought she was smart; I thought she was like me.  Sadly, it appears I don’t really know her.  You don’t really know someone until you know their punctuation habits.  The kicker is that I have “known” this hooligan for years; I just never really knew her.

Fortunately, another friend of mine was ready and willing to provide therapy to me on this topic.  I casually asked her, “Soooo, what do you think of the series comma?”  Her response of “I LOVE IT!” saved me and my confidence in the company I keep.  Similar to me, this (sane) friend likes adjectives, to the extent that she’ll adjectivize other parts of speech…sort of like me.  That and using series commas are part of our literary charm.

As part of this therapy session, I put together prescription for myself to announce and legitimize my love for the series comma.  Being in a safe space made it all the easier.  I am going to make myself a shirt.  The front will say: TEAM SERIES COMMA and the back will say: brought to you by the words team, series, and comma – in italics or some sort of fancy script, just like that.  It’s likely to be a short-sleeve t-shirt.  I have not picked the color yet, but I am leaning toward baby blue – to bring out my eyes.  I toyed with the idea of something neon, to draw attention to the importance of the issue.  The problem with an obnoxious color is that the series comma is such a classy thing that I wouldn’t want to cheapen it.

The series comma.  It deserves to be embraced, employed, and exhibited.  Don’t leave words unnecessarily punctunaked.

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2 Responses to “The Series Comma”


  1. 1 KB
    April 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    You would fit in well at my workplace. We wholeheartedly, unabashedly, and excessively embrace the series comma.


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