How a TikTok User's Video on Usage of Oxford Comma Has Waged an Online War
TikTok user Kelsie Satterfield's humble attempt to explain the correct usage of the comma has sparked a debate on social media.
Screenshot from video tweeted by @davejorgenson.
A comma is usually used before the last item in a list of three or more words, before using 'and'. However, the humble comma has been a subject of raging debates among oxford comma connoisseurs. Now, a teenager's humble attempt to explain the correct usage of the comma has sparked a debate on social media.
Kelsie Satterfield, from Missouri, USA is one of those people who believe that the comma is absolutely necessary in a sentence as, without it, the sentence can connote a different meaning altogether.
In her latest TikTik video, the teenager explained that the comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Sure enough, her video managed to spark a huge debate online.
Kelsie wrote on a piece of white paper that read, "I thanked my parents, Batman, and Superman".
This is actually my favorite TikTok pic.twitter.com/PWtVOSkO77— Dave Jorgenson 🗞 (@davejorgenson) September 23, 2019
On reading the sentence with the comma, it means she is thanking three different groups of people that include her parents, the Caped Crusader Batman and finally Superman. Kelsie even says in the video, "You're thanking three groups of people. Your parents, Batman, and Superman. Three, right? Right."
However, if the comma is removed from before "and Superman," the sentence reads, "I thanked my parents, Batman and Superman."
This would mean that the two most iconic superheroes in comic book history are her parents.
"Are Superman and Batman your parents? No? Then your job as the author is to help your readers know that by using the Oxford comma,” Kelsie can be seen saying in the video.
The teenager ends the video by saying that the Oxford comma is very important and all writers should take note of it.
The video was originally tweeted by Washington Post journalist Dave Jorgenson alongside the caption that it is actually his "favorite TikTok”. It currently has over 3.3 million views, 1.04 lakh likes and over 27,000 re-tweets.
However, people were quick to put forward their opinions on the same. Here's what they wrote:
When I was in school like 100 years ago we just called it a comma. It has a function in written English. Sick of the faux “Oxford comma” debate. It’s a comma. The clip is correct, but stop saying “Oxford comma”. It’s just a comma. You either know how to use it or you don’t.— Mean Smartish Doktor (@TheDoktor16) September 24, 2019
It’s always been called on Oxford comma. A specific usage of it is being discussed. You either know why it’s being debated in usage or you don’t.— Don 고 (@KoDon4) September 24, 2019
I don’t know how anyone can be against the Oxford comma, and if they are, they should watch this.— CascadiaCoug (@CascadiaCougXII) September 23, 2019
I’m opposed to the Oxford comma because you can rewrite that sentence, not confuse your readers and save yourself a comma.“I thanked Batman, Superman and my parents.”— Jude (@ndjrs) September 23, 2019
She’s wrong. I don’t care if you use the Oxford comma or not, but if you want to imply parentage you have to use a colon. “I want to thank my parents: Batman and Superman.” I appreciate her passion but her rationale is bunk.— Eric Spletzer (@espletz) September 24, 2019
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