Special

Recession hits Oxford comma dies

At an executive meeting last Thursday Oxford University Press decided to no longer require punctuation in their published works

Because of the high price of publishing punctuation becomes expensive especially during these difficult economic times said Oxford publisher Perry Udd Omitting punctuation from books and articles would save about 3 percent of the resources used to publish items including printing paper and ink

Possibly the most controversial implication is the retraction of the Oxford comma The convention is used after the penultimate item in a written list Udd claims that commas make up over 40 percent of punctuation in the English language more so in the pieces we publish This would have serious implications when considering our budget Removing commas especially the Oxford kind would also compromise the comprehensibility of a text Without them lists of items would be ambiguously related to each other For example Nelson Mandela could be accidentally referred to as an 800 year old demigod and a dildo collector Thats what Peter Ustinov did in his documentary film Planet Ustinov

Another thing to consider with these cuts is the cost of copy editing added Udd Since there are fewer standards of style sans punctuation we can hire a less expensive copy staff In fact according to a recent Oxford study most copy errors that happen deal with clarifying ambiguities with punctuation Udd continued This is a waste of time but the simpler procedure could expedite the production process

A copy editor from Oxford agreed Our readers will figure it out Besides it will make them smarter by exercising their critical thinking skills We all know that every sentence begins with a capital letter all possessive pronouns precede a noun questions have question words or special syntax and clauses can be intuitively deciphered Right I mean theres no punctuation in speech Therearentevenwordboundaries