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Office Pets. Part II: Blacky and Felix

This is the second (and last) part of our blog series about office pets. This time, we show off Blacky and Felix, two brothers. They are six years old, curious, and always hungry. more ...

Check if or check that? Or: Have you tried turning if off and on again?

How often do we read or write that we should check something? Example: "Check if the computer is connected to power." Clear message, no misunderstanding. But what if it says: "Check that the computer is connected to power." more ...

Ten questions for Ines Lasch, intern at parson

Ines Lasch just finished her vocational training as a technical writer and is doing an eight-week internship at parson. We asked her ten questions. more ...

Vocational Training for Technical Communicators. How Does it Work?

Anja Schiel, trainee, and Ulrike Parson, CEO of parson AG, offer their insights into the vocational training for technical communicators. more ...

Make Technical Documentation Intelligent - From Content Management to Content Delivery

In this article, Martin Kreutzer and Ulrike Parson describe how you fill content-delivery portals with intelligent information so that users quickly get the right answers to their questions. more ...

Commas save lives

Comma rules. For some, they are easy to remember. For others, they can be as difficult as assembling Ikea kitchen cabinets.

Every few months or so, we fight about the Oxford comma. The opponents: "That thing is pretentious". The supporters: "But it avoids misunderstandings".

The Oxford comma is the final comma in a list of three or more items. It is used before the conjunction that follows the final list item.The Oxford comma is not mandatory. Some style guides, for example, the AP style book for journalists, do not require the Oxford comma. The sentence below makes sense without it.

"Set the machine on a flat surface, unplug the cable and press the Reset button."

The sentence „I love my parents, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt“ could be interpreted as stating that you are the child of the two famous movie stars. In this case, we recommend the Oxford comma.

Plus, commas save lives. The following is a cliché, but we cannot resist:

"Anna enjoys cooking, her grandfather, and her cat."

"Anna enjoys cooking her grandfather and her cat."

This one is classic too:

"Let’s eat, Grandpa."

What happens if we omit the comma?

"Let’s eat Grandpa."

Fotolia ShockedGrandpa© pathdoc - Fotolia.com

As I said, commas save lives.

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