Thursday, April 17, 2014
Blogging from #AtoZChallenge - Oxford comma and Ozzie
Ah, the dreaded Oxford comma. Some love it, some hate it, and some don't get it. As you can see, I use it. In case you don't know what the Oxford comma is, it's the second comma in a list of three or more items followed by "and".
We visited the horse rescue and brought home Ozzie, Bahzra, and Santana.
I'm a recent convert. My previous thinking was that the word "and" is there, why do we need the comma? How is there any room for confusion?
The Chicago Manual of Style recommends using the Oxford comma, but I don't think they do a great job of giving a reason why. It does say it prevents ambiguity and gives one example but doesn't point out the importance.
For breakfast, I chose between waffles, scrambled eggs, and biscuits and gravy. Biscuits and gravy are essentially a unit, I didn't have to choose between biscuits and gravy. Since these situations exist AND we want to be consistent, it does make sense to use the Oxford comma.
Another explanation that won me over (in my own head) is the situation of a list of three independent phrases.
I ran toward the loose horse, he spun and bolted in the other direction, and the dumped rider lunged to catch him.
Maybe not a great sentence, but as we discussed for B (separating independent phrases by but or and requires a comma), this comma is required. So again, for consistency, the Oxford comma does have a solid case. I came to this conclusion reluctantly, but here I am.
Do you use the Oxford comma? Love it, hate it? Just happy you have an editor to decide for you?
Jackson, wanted to move on to a more challenging ride that would be able to keep up with our arabs on the trail. We visited a rescue, Dreamcatcher Equine Rescue. They had over 100 horses out on a big pasture. Since the owner was driving back from a fundraiser, my friend and I toured the pasture. I identified two horses that I thought were awesome. When the owner showed up, she said one of them was her personal horse and the other was an untrained arab. I wasn't at all looking for a horse, but I couldn't pass up that arab - he became Bahzra (pictured on B day).
They found a little black-and-white pony for my friend. I'd hoped she would try out several horses, but she fell in love at once. Ozzie got his name from the first three letters of the license plate on my trailer (OZY). Ozzie was a spoiled pony, but smart and a good challenge for my friend to improve her riding skills. By the way, most horses at rescues have absolutely nothing wrong with them, have never been starved, and are often nicely trained. (note that Oxford comma?) Rescues are a great place to start when looking for a horse (or dog).