Kevin Vance - If I expect to take any higher level business classes at UMD, I have…

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01:43 pm

Thursday, August 15th, 2002
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If I expect to take any higher level business classes at UMD, I have to figure out these prerequisites. (Getting into the classes themselves will be hard enough as a computer science major) Here is a phrase about the availability of one class, Business Finance:

"This course is open to all students with 53 credit hours completed who are not BMGT, business language or agriculture and resource economics (0111C) majors."

...huh?

Trying to figure out if it's either of these two:
~"BMGT" ^ ~"business language" ^ ~"agriculture" ^ ~"resource economics"
~("BMGT" v "business language" v "agriculture") ^ "resource economics"

Then it strikes me that maybe the title of major 0111C is "agriculture and resource economics" and they are the kinds of bastards who skip a comma in lists. This may be correct, since some digging indicated that 0111C is "Agribusiness". The sentance with the extra comma: "This course is open to all students with 52 credit hours completed who are not BMGT, business language, or agriculture and resource economics (0111C) majors." Makes more sense, doesn't it?

Bah. Most of these business-class-for-non-business-majors classes only have one available time per semester, so I probably won't even be able to do it :P
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Comments
[User Picture]From: pyrop
2002-08-15 10:57 am (UTC)
I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God...
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[User Picture]From: ldy
2002-08-15 11:10 am (UTC)
Actually, the next to last item in a list should not have a comma.

"X, Y, or Z" is incorrect. "X, Y or Z" is correct.

So they actually had it right as "BMGT, business language or agriculture and resource economics."

It is confusing, though.
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2002-08-15 11:29 am (UTC)
In my experience, the correctness of the {oxford,harvard,serial} comma just depends on who you ask.
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[User Picture]From: ldy
2002-08-15 12:22 pm (UTC)
This is true. I suppose when push comes to shove, what is clearest is what is best, and the extra comma usage tends to be clearer (in most cases).
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[User Picture]From: czircon
2002-08-15 12:50 pm (UTC)

Why would "X, Y, or Z" be incorrect? "X, Y, and Z" is correct. In all my years as the son of a grammarian, I have never heard of "X, Y, or Z" being incorrect; I've only heard its use encouraged over "X, Y or Z." I can grudgingly accept that "X, Y or Z" is ... well, acceptable, but I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize the idea that the next to last item in a list should not have a comma.
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[User Picture]From: axiem
2002-08-15 01:48 pm (UTC)
Uh, since when? I've beent old that "X, Y and/or Z" is acceptable, but I have never ever been told that "X, Y, and/or Z" is incorrect. As I've been taught since second grade (when we first did punctuation of lists), whenever you punctuate items in a list, you put a comma after each one, except for the last (unless the sentence continues)

(There are, of course, exceptions to that, such as when listing phrases that include commas, in which case, I do believe you use semicolons to separate the phrases. Don't trust me on that one, though, I haven't looked it up anywhere)
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[User Picture]From: deathpudding
2002-08-15 01:54 pm (UTC)
http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm
"Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." You may have learned that the comma before the "and" is unnecessary, which is fine if you're in control of things. However, there are situations when, if you don't use this comma (especially when the list is complex or lengthy), these last two items in the list will try to glom together (like macaroni and cheese). Using a comma between all the items in a series, including the last two, avoids this problem. This last comma—the one between the word "and" and the preceding word—is often called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. In newspaper writing, incidentally, you will seldom find a serial comma, but that is not necessarily a sign that it should be omitted in academic prose."
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[User Picture]From: axiem
2002-08-15 02:00 pm (UTC)

Re:

Sweet, and online English grammar reference. Thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: deathpudding
2002-08-15 02:00 pm (UTC)
and anyway, since it is a list of options (blah, blah, or blah) the last item, agriculture and resource economics, is one major, having been preceded by the 'or.'
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[User Picture]From: techpimp
2002-08-15 01:36 pm (UTC)
My advice is to give up.
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[User Picture]From: techpimp
2002-08-15 01:43 pm (UTC)
Drop out and start a rabbit farm.
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[User Picture]From: techpimp
2002-08-15 01:43 pm (UTC)
I like rabbits.
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[User Picture]From: bitman
2002-08-15 05:37 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't it be nice if the English language used parentheses to resolve such ambiguities, rather than commas? Then all our writing could look like lisp!
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2002-08-15 06:05 pm (UTC)
(shudder)
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