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Should comma usage be universal?
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Comma conventions are and should remain arbitrary based on language and context

Comma usage varies between languages and dialects. Standard usage is almost impossible to visualize between languages and even between certain fields of study. Notable proponents include John Greene and Mary Norris.
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The Argument

Comma standards represent unnecessary enforcement of grammatical rules on basic language. While full stop punctuation marks like periods, exclamation points, and question marks indicate an explicit change in the continuation or meaning of the sentence, marks like commas, colons, and dashes are more interchangeable.[1] Modern conventions do not require those marks to be standardized in the same way as the full stops, and enforcing that type of standardization marks the beginning of erasing the individuality of language.[2] The Oxford comma isn’t even universal between languages. Many different languages include different comma standards outside of English.[3] Not only does enforcing comma universality encourage excessive unification, but it also represents a Westernized point of view. Some parts of language are meant to be consistent, while others are meant to be flexible. When flexible punctuation is forced to adhere to strict rules, it erases the individualization of our words. Arbitrary language is not a mark of laziness but rather an indication of how sentence structure and word usage have developed over time.

Counter arguments

As language has developed, so has the capacity to interpret it. The imposition of rules is not meant to be restrictive, so much as a guiding force helping the reader towards the intended meaning. Fear of erasing individuality is legitimate, but at the point that it interferes with literacy, we must take a closer look at the rules we dedicate ourselves to.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 18:37 UTC