Monday, July 13, 2009


Pronunciation: ˈkah-mə-tōs
Function: adjective
Etymology: French comateux, from Greek kōmat-, kōma
Date: 2009
1 : characterized by lethargic inertness (The commatose editor reached a point where he didn't have the wherewithal to decide whether to insert or delete commas in the book he was editing.)

And how, you might ask, did I come down with this affliction?

First, the style at my FT job is to use the serial (aka Harvard or Oxford) comma.

Second, one of freelance employer's style uses the serial, the other doesn't.

Third, some style guides give it a thumbs up, others don't, and still others don't even have a thumb.

Such a tiny little punctuation mark, yet so problematic.