Copy Editing For Fun And Profit

April 3rd, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

For those of you who greeted the time change with aplomb, we salute you. Messing with time is a dangerous thing, and we are of the belief that no good can come from it. Except maybe the opportunity to drink wine in the backyards on lovely spring evenings.

We figure that if you’re the type to rise early, then you’re the type to get all excited about copy-editing. And if you’re the type to get excited about copy-editing, well, see previous re: wine. It will help.

It’s a nice article (transcript, actually, but why quibble?) that had us in almost total agreement. You know the issue, you are on our side:

Cheryl Della Pietra: Serial comma. This is a matter of style. Okay. Apples oranges and pears. A serial comma is the comma that appears before the “and.” This is a matter of style. Wherever you work they’ll say, use a serial comma, don’t use a serial comma. It’s the first thing you should ask. If they don’t use a serial comma: apples, oranges and pears. Neither of these is wrong. You just have to be consistent.

Yes, it is wrong. Just because “style guides” have decided to mess with the natural order of commas, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Do not allow yourself to be sucked in by this type of logic. You are smarter than that. The serial comma matters. It’s what makes a sentence sing!

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