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This hilarious Twitter blunder proves why grammar ALWAYS matters

Are you sick of hearing about what a crappy year it was last year?

Celebrity deaths, Trump, Brexit. It was all a bit much. Gotta stay positive.

Well on a lighter note, Microsoft closed out the year with a hilarious mistake on its official Microsoft Office Twitter account.

The gaff occurred after Microsoft Office replied to a Twitter user complaining about 2016. Twitter user @Officialchinx tweeted:

Microsoft Office, sensing criticism, replied:

The response was quickly noticed by others on social media who thoroughly enjoyed the blunder.

To be fair, the OP could have done a lot better with his punctuation.

By simply adding a comma after “Word” it would have been clear that he was using it as a slang introductory exclamation. And yes, that is the kind of thing I’d get beaten up in high school for telling people.

Commas have proved tricky beasts at the best of times. Go ahead, pick through my Techly articles. I’m sure you find some comma mistakes. After all, I’m no, grammarian.

The biggest trouble seems to stem from the serial comma, or Oxford comma as it is commonly known.

This is the one that’s placed immediately before a coordinating conjunction, such as “and” or “or” in a series of three or more items.

To illustrate, here is an example that was once published in The Times to describe a Peter Ustinov documentary:

…highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.

Without an Oxford comma, Mandela here becomes a demigod connoisseur of sex toys. Crikey!

In the exciting and high-stakes world of grammar nerds, opinion is divided regarding the Oxford comma.

On the one hand, team Oxford comma see the comma as more consistent with convention, closer to the cadence of spoken English and better for resolving ambiguities such as the one above.

On the other hand, opponents to the Oxford comma see it as inconsistent, redundant and unnecessary, adding bulk to a text.

All in all, the Microsoft Office blunder was pretty tame stuff. Harmless compared to the recent Twitter F-ups that have quickly followed.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, of Buffy fame, faced the ire of the internet after commenting on George Michael’s untimely passing. This one had nothing to do with grammar – Gellar just got the wrong guy:

“Do you really want to hurt me? I guess you do 2016 – #ripboygeorge I was truly one of your biggest fans” she wrote, in a now-deleted tweet.

Within seconds, Gellar was informed about the error and quickly posted this:

We’re only in January, but Yahoo Finance is already a serious contender for Twitter gaffe of the year.

Last week, someone at the site tweeted a story about President-elect Donald Trump’s desire to build a much bigger Navy. Unfortunately, the poor sap started the word “bigger” with an “N”, and well, use your imagination.

The tweet was deleted FAST and Yahoo Finance posted an apology:

The internet never forgets though and many a screenshot was taken that day.

Oh, well. No one’s perfect. As Vampire Weekend say, who gives a f@#$ about an Oxford comma, anyway?

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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