Why Is the Oxford Comma a Heated Debate in 2017?


If you stare awhile at the string of characters that a sentence comprises, the squiggles lose all meaning. That humans somehow manage to agree on the use of these symbols well enough to communicate at all can seem miraculous.

But what about when we don’t quite agree—when it seems a writer has added a superfluous, bafflingly out-of-place comma, perhaps, or inexplicably used the wrong pronoun? Maybe they’re simply mistaken. Or maybe they’re in the vanguard of a futuristic linguistic trend that, decades or centuries hence, will be widely embraced and regarded as correct.

Our language is forever evolving, and 2017 was no exception. Two key authorities on proper usage—the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style—both made modernizing tweaks in their latest updates.

Examined closely, these offer glimpses into the past and future: “Often people think of language shifting over centuries,” says Grammarly copy editor Brittney Ross, “but some of these happened pretty quickly.” See More  . . . 




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