christmas book wishes

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Dec 27 17:07:46 EST 2003


Robyn replied to Charlie:

>>This is what Truss calls (IIRC) the Oxford comma, and it's largely a matter
>>of national preference. In my experience US editors want it in, but UK ones
>>prefer to omit it.
>
>That's weird, because Chicago Style absolutely bans it.

Fowler gives examples in which it would be downright misleading *not* to
have a comma after a list and before the final "and".  I have a feeling he
uses the names of shipping firms to make his point, but I can't be bothered
to go and fetch the Fowler, still less to work out where I found the ruling
or under what heading.

I would suggest that "Mills and Boon, Orbit and Pan" is a little less clear
than "Mills and Boon, Orbit, and Pan", for instance.  As for "Freeman,
Hardy, Willis, Debenham and Freebody and Marks and Spencer".... erk!  At
that point I would shudder inwardly but add another "and" after "Willis"
and a comma after "Freebody", not to mention deciding that I would reverse
the order in which the emporia were listed (unless it were of importance
that they be thus, as for example if what were being discussed were sales
figures in a particular order).

That absolute ban might turn round and bite Chicago Style one day.  :-)

Minnow


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