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Everything changes

Aug - 25 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Today I learned that everything I’ve learned is subject to change. Let’s back up – when I started by first job out of college I learned that they (the big mysterious “they”) had changed the rule about the comma before the word “and” (example – apples, pears, and oranges – should be: apples, pears and oranges). This morning my morning news report has told me that there are no longer 9 planets – that’s right Pluto is no longer a planet!

I don’t know how those of you who are parents help your kids with homework – they just keep changing the rules!

3 Responses so far.

  1. derikb says:

    NOOOO. The serial comma is not dead! It is vitally important in many more complicated sentence structures:

    ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and grilled cheese.

    ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese.


  2. Nicole says:

    Yes – in those instances you can still use it – but in the ones like I had above you’re not supposed to. But, since there are so many of us who learned it the first way I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

    I did find this though: – apparently it’s optional – and both ways are correct.

    And Mr. Archer (English Teacher) says this:

    Example: The mountains, the lakes, the meadows and the wildlife should be protected in this area.

    Note: The conjunction AND in the above sentence for the last item in the series does not need a comma as the comma in a series actually functions as a conjunction. However, use a comma before the conjunction to avoid confusion with series of long phrases.

    So I was mis-informed (sort of) – it’s not gone, but it is optional now – either way they changed the rules on me and I don’t like that :)

  3. [...] So what has knowledge been? David starts with Plato who said 2 very important things “Justified true belief” (content) and “The wise man knows how to carve nature at its joints” (order) – the idea is that there are natural dividing places in nature. To explain this (and this was funny if you were there) David pointed out that we all know there are 9 planets. However, now we know how made up and arbitrary these joints (our knowledge) are because the International Astronomical Union came to us and told us that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore – there aren’t 9 planets – there are only 8. [...]

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