The Oxford comma doesn't always resolve ambiguity. Wikipedia gives this real example:
"By train, plane and sedan chair, Peter Ustinov retraces a journey made by Mark Twain a century ago. The highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector."
An Oxford comma in the second sentence would not resolve the ambiguity about whether the encounters involved 2 people or 3 people.This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
The highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod, and a dildo collector."
This is ambiguous because "an 800-year-old demigod" can be interpreted as an appositive describing Mandela. Or it can be interpreted as another item in the list. Mandela is not a dildo collector, but he might still be a demigod.
Who might imagine Mandela to be 800 years old? Logic tells me that there were two people; three would be impossible - unless one were long dead. It does suggest that there are many frustrated women somewhere along his journey.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Geoff,
Posts: 4758 | Location: In a cornfield in central Indiana