Punctuation for truck drivers


A complex and costly new legal ruling (or here) vindicates us nerdy language pedants. It’s brought devotees of the numinous Oxford comma out of the woodwork again.

To show the risks of eschewing the Oxford comma, here’s another party game—you can make up your own lists from the template:

I’d like to thank my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope

I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling

I have been inspired by my parents, Donald Trump and Barbara Cartland

I owe a profound debt to my parents, Beyoncé and Stephen Fry

The theme is further explored in several articles on the languagelog site. I’m partial to a TV listing spotted in The Times:

Planet Ustinov—Monday, C4, 8pm. By train, plane and sedan chair, Peter Ustinov retraces a journey made by Mark Twain a century ago. The highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.

See? Punctuation rules OK. Or is that Punctuation rules, OK?

Update, 2022
Yet another fatuous Tory intervention in grammar inspired this contribution:

At the government’s circus-themed party, I struck up a conversation with the clowns, Suella Braverman and Nadine Dorries.

More, with helpful illustrations, here and here.

2 thoughts on “Punctuation for truck drivers

  1. Pingback: China–Italy: International Cultural Exchange zzzzz | Stephen Jones: a blog

  2. Pingback: A presumptuous guardian of language | Stephen Jones: a blog

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