For many people, grammar is boring.
On numerous occasions I have begun to talk about the importance of grammar and punctuation, and I am almost always met with glazed looks, drooping eyes, and quite often the classic eye roll. However, grammar and – most importantly – punctuation is vital to the meaning of what you are trying to convey. Whether it is an academic essay or a website page, bad grammar and punctuation can make the text look sloppy and unprofessional, but it can also change its meaning. The following illustrates this point perfectly:
Commas are used in many situations, however, perhaps famously for pauses. Yet this is a myth! And incorrect! Commas are in fact incredibly versatile and used in many situations, including marking non-restrictive clauses, separating clauses in a sentence, separating introductory words and additional information, separating items in lists, separating coordinate adjectives, introducing quotes, introductory words and phrases, parenthetical clauses, and for separating information at the end of a sentence.
The Oxford Comma (serial comma)
This is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list. Straightforward lists don’t require them, although sometimes they can help the reader and break the list up. However, there a few occasions where the Oxford comma is needed….
And thus, the importance of the comma!