Wednesday, December 22, 2010

He Don't Know Swhat!

From Charlie Sykes, author of the book "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, Or Add"*, comes this piece of incite, er, I mean, insight:

*BTW, yes, we know the second comma in the book title is superfluous and shouldn't be there, but that is how Sykes, author and editor of WPRI, wrote it.


  1. That second comma you call superfluous my kids' teachers all demanded. Today's Elements of Style indeed demands that second comma except when listing names of a business.

    By the way, I was also taught it was incorrect. I guess that makes us old together.;)

  2. The "serial comma," sometimes referred to as the "Harvard comma," is, in fact, correct, if considered a bit "too" correct, if you get my drift. However, Journalistic writing which adheres to the AP stylebook, eschews the terminal comma. But then again, we never would confuse Charlie with a Journalist, now would we?

    10 commas in this comment, by the way.

  3. I have put in a request for a ruling from Jay Bullock, English teacher extraordinaire, on the comma controversy.

  4. It's called the Oxford comma, really, and I always demand it. Mostly because it is too easy to write something that could be confused for an appositive when you intend it as a series. Such as.

    The case of the title of the book in question is less ambiguous, and would be perfectly understandable without the comma. However, were I Charlie's copy-editor, I would have used the comma (and then probably thrown myself off a bridge).