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.
Yo. il meet u 2moro n den we cn dcyd wats 2 b done 4 Claire’s bday. Pls ask Anne 2 join us 2. Oh n I saw d vid u sent. Lol. So kul! Anyway, cu 2moro. Lmk d tym. Gtg.
If you were able to read and understand that entire message perfectly, you officially speak texting lingo.
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For many human beings words form part of our communication, and without them many of us would be lost. Language fascinates, frustrates, and entices us. As Reading Addicts it is part of our daily ritual to fall head first into pages upon pages of the written word and get lost in there for hours.
We often find ourselves re-reading an elegantly constructed sentence just to feel it trip through the mind a few more times. Other times our knowledge fails us and we reach for a dictionary, feeling that small thrill of learning a new piece of lexiconic excellence.
Your fellow language lovers at For Reading Addicts have collated a list of language-orientated books we think you may find useful or enjoyable as you continue your quest of expanding your mind through literature.
Please peruse and enjoy!