Fiona Duff:I'm off to beauty grammar school
now I am in a bit of a rush here, so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. I mean it is so easy to make a mistake when your mind is flying like an out of control bat.
What I realise I really need in my life is that man in Bristol who, in the middle of the night, goes around businesses in the city adding and deleting apostrophes as required.
I am at that stage in life when little things like that annoy me quite intensely. Not that it is an obsession, but recently I went around to see a friend who has recently had an operation. And what did we talk about – perhaps the flowers in her garden or holidays we might be planning you would think. No, instead we had a long conversation about the Oxford comma (look it up, as I said I don’t have time to explain) as apparently dairy workers in Maine, USA managed to get extra overtime payments due to there being the lack on one in their contracts.
The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its aficionados say it clarifies sentences in which things are listed.
The sentences “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty” and “I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty” are a little different. Without a comma, it looks like the parents in question are, in fact, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.
Now tell me that punctuation isn’t important if it puts a few more pennies in your pocket.
If they explained that in English classes then perhaps people would pay a bit more attention to where tey put their commas.
The reason that I don’t have time to hang about is that I am going for a facial (yes, I know I need one before anyone else gets that quip in before me).
The lovely Liz McCarron has just moved to a plush new place at Mulberry House. When I emerge I doubt that I shall actually look 10 years younger – to be honest I’ll settle for her taking ten minutes off my physog – but I will have had an hour of lying on my back and being pampered.
And I won’t be bothered about commas, apostrophes or anything for those 60 minutes.