The Oxford Comma Impact

commaMany an English clergyman (and editor) have pushed a significance of a well-placed comma. But, zero drives a outline home as good as a lawsuit that had a substantial financial impact given a Maine law did not use an Oxford comma. A class-action lawsuit preference about overtime compensate hinged on a repudiation of that small square of punctuation.

The supposed Oxford comma is a final one in a list before a final item; for example, she ate chicken, salad, and broccoli. Many publications and a Associated Press (AP) Stylebook manners they follow do not supplement that punctuation before a and in a list.

Guardian Liberty Voice used to leave it out, though recently backed a use for clarity reasons. To understand, review these sentences:

  • He visited his favorite politicians, Donald Trump and Paul Ryan.
  • He visited his favorite politicians, Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan.

The initial implies that Trump and Ryan are a favorites. The second one implies they are merely dual others who were visited.

The Lawsuit

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston handed down a preference on Monday, Mar 13, that cited a blank punctuation in a Maine law as a basement for a visualisation that could cost a dairy association approximately $10 million. The justice found in O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy that a government did not embody a comma, so a definition was ambiguous. As Judge David Barron remarkable in his opinion, “For wish of a comma, we have this case.”

The specific legislation reviewed by a justice requires overtime pay, solely for those concerned in some foodservice activities, including “the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, make-up for conveyance or placement ….” Three lorry drivers sued Oakhurst Dairy on interest of themselves and other workers for over 4 years’ of overtime compensate that they were denied formed on a company’s interpretation of a law. The drivers discharge foods, though do not container them.

The justice was asked to confirm either a proviso referred to one activity that involves make-up or dual apart activities—packing and distribution. If placement is interpreted as a apart activity, a workers would not acquire overtime pay. Placing a Oxford comma before a or would have done it transparent that placement was partial of a list of free activities. There was no comma, per Maine’s legislative drafting instructions.

One other abbreviation doctrine concerned in a lawsuit dealt with gerunds (the –ing finale on a word). The litigants also forked out that a other activities were created with a gerund, though placement was not. They believed that was serve justification that make-up and placement was one activity, given all a other activities in a list had gerunds.

The internal district justice had postulated a outline visualisation to a dairy association after last that “distribution” is a stand-alone activity and free from overtime pay. The First Circuit topsy-turvy that, however. The appeals court, citing a doubt caused by a grammar, ruled in a drivers’ favor, extenuation them a overtime pay.

It is not transparent if Oakhurst Dairy will try to take a box to a aloft court. What is transparent is that regulating or not regulating a Oxford comma can have a large impact.”

By Dyanne Weiss

NPR: The Oxford Comma: Great For Listing, Pontificating, And Winning Court Cases
ABA Journal: Oxford comma emanate advantages drivers in overtime case
Grammerly: What Is a Oxford Comma and Why Do People Care So Much About It?
Boston Globe: Lack of Oxford comma costs Maine association millions in overtime dispute

Art by U.S. Government, additional changes done by Offnfopt [Public domain], around Wikimedia Commons

The Oxford Comma Impact combined by Dyanne Weiss on Mar 16, 2017
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