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​Rant: Comma splice

Regulars | November issue


A friend, suddenly bereaved of her youthful, popular GP husband, has received sacks of sympathetic letters. There were also some ready-made condolence cards, one of which bore the words: ‘It’s Simply Not Fair, Sharing in Your Sorrow,’ inscribed with a gilded flourish.   Perhaps a full point after ‘Fair’ would have deprived her family of what became for them a jokey refrain. But the full stop is becoming obsolete. It has been replaced by the ‘comma splice’. Instructions at our holiday villa included: ‘There is a recycling collection for tin, paper and plastic on Tuesdays, please put these in the blue bags found under the sink.’ Its guest book was spattered with comma splices and exclamation marks: ‘There are 345 pieces of crockery in this house, I unpacked each one of them!’ The DVLA confirmed my road tax payment: ‘The law has changed, you do not need to display a tax...

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