Exam Board Rules On Punctuation Are Wrong, Wrong, And Wrong
At the Hay Festival, David Crystal, an esteemed linguistics academic, brought up the question of utilizing commas and where they are necessary or superfluous. He criticized the Department for Education for not understanding this basic rule and allowing exam boards to wrongly penalize children. According to Crystal, the current schools’ guidance "leaves a huge amount to be desired, especially in areas of punctuation. There is a tendency in the question setters of linguistic naivety; they are simply not aware of the complexity of some of the decisions they are asking the kids to make."
The debate over the importance of the comma has been ongoing since the 18th century, with the discussion of whether to utilize a comma before an "and" in lists. In the 19th century, publishers resolved the issue by making different decisions. Oxford University Press decided to include the Oxford comma in its publications. This comma is also referred to as the serial comma and is utilized between every adjective preceding the noun since each adjective holds equal significance. On the other hand, Cambridge University Press preferred to omit it, setting off tremendous debates. While both methods are correct, the latest guidance to teachers has banned the use of the Oxford comma, causing Crystal and other fans of the Oxford comma to use the wrong punctuation.
Crystal explained his teachings at the Hay Festival, where he discussed his book Making a Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation, stating that he rarely gets agitated by the issues that pesters other individuals, including the overuse of exclamation marks. Crystal’s focus is on the changing use of punctuation, pointing out the decrease of full stops compared to the 19th century. His biggest pet peeve, however, is the "Radio 3 syndrome," where presenters lower their voices at the end of a sentence, which he finds irritating.