Missing Oxford Comma Costs Dairy $10 million

By March 20, 2017Language, News

Here at For Reading Addicts we’re often seen promoting the use of proper grammar, but so often we’re told that good grammar doesn’t matter. Well here’s proof it does, as a legal wrangle ends in a $10 million bill for a dairy company, and it’s all over a missing Oxford comma.

For those who don’t know, the Oxford or serial comma is used during lists of items. For instance ‘dogs come in many colours, including black, brown, white, grey, and auburn’. For many years there have been arguments about whether the comma is necessary, but we suspect that Oakhurst Dairy in Maine will be ensuring its inclusion in future after a multi-million dollar court case.

Workers at the dairy decided to sue Oakhurt Dairy because they felt that they should have received overtime pay. Maine state laws says that employers are ineligible for overtime pay if they work in “the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution” of some food products.The workers have successfully argued that the law exempted workers involved in packing for shipment or packing for distribution, rather than exempting both packers and distributors.

Think the Oxford Comma isn’t worth much? Well, this one is worth $10 million as the missing punctuation mark will result in a backdated overtime payment to 75 workers who will split an estimated $10 million! That makes this comma, possibly the most expensive dash of ink every known.

Dord – How a Lexicographic Error Joined the Dictionary

By | Language | No Comments
On February 28th, 1939 a dictionary editor for the Merriam-Webster dictionary noticed that under the word ‘Dord’ defined as ‘a synonym for density’, there was no etymology, leaving him wondering why. This discovery sent him on an investigation and before long an order was sent to the printers to make an urgent change to the dictionary. Read More

Ten Mistakes Guaranteed to Make a Reader Cringe

By | Language, On Writing | No Comments
Not every reader is a grammar nerd, or even the best at spelling and punctuation, but we certainly have an advantage over those who do not consume books for pleasure.

We can tell by the comments made on social media by our very own Reading Addicts, that good grammar is very important to them. If a meme or book quote is slightly off-kilter then all Hell can break loose!

We came across these awful mistakes on our weary web travels and knew instantly who would appreciate them (or not!)

See how many of these horrendous mistakes you can get through without scratching your eyes out.

Read More

The OED Yearly Update is in: Mansplain it to Me

By | Language, News | No Comments
Language is fluid, and ever changing and that’s why the team at Oxford add and change dictionary entries every single year. Each year they examine the language used in the media, essays and literature, deciding which words are in and which words are out.

The 2018 Oxford English Dictionary update is in, and this year there are 1,100 new entries, phrases and senses. Here are the ones we think you might be most surprised at. Read More

19 Surprising Contronyms

By | Language | No Comments
Contronyms are also known as ‘auto-antonyms’, a word with multiple meanings with one being the contradiction of another. For example: to dust is to remove debris from a surface, while to dust can also mean to sprinkle something onto a surface… We can dust the worktop to remove any debris before placing the cake down to then dust it with icing sugar.

Here are some of our favourite contronyms in the English language.

Read More

Leave a Reply