Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million

Standard Disclaimer:

I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.

I came across this recently – Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/us/oxford-comma-maine.html

What is an Oxford Comma?

The Oxford comma is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list:

We sell books, videos, and magazines.

It’s known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press.  Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words:

These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green.

The Oxford comma is also known as the serial comma.

Here’s some of the article:

The case began in 2014, when three truck drivers sued the dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay they had been denied. Maine law requires time-and-a-half pay for each hour worked after 40 hours, but it carved out exemptions for:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

(1) Agricultural produce;

(2) Meat and fish products; and

(3) Perishable foods.

What followed the last comma in the first sentence was the crux of the matter: “packing for shipment or distribution of.” The court ruled that it was not clear whether the law exempted the distribution of the three categories that followed, or if it exempted packing for the shipment or distribution of them.

The change, after the lawsuit:

Since then, the Maine Legislature addressed the punctuation problem. Here’s how it reads now:

The canning; processing; preserving; freezing; drying; marketing; storing; packing for shipment; or distributing of:

(1) Agricultural produce;

(2) Meat and fish products; and

(3) Perishable foods.

So now we get to replace Oxford comma pedantry with semicolon pedantry. The change, sponsored by Senator Andre Cushing, was among dozens of legislative tweaks signed by the governor in June.

There are some good memes about why the Oxford Comma can be important as it can change the context when it is missing. The above lawsuit shows a great reason why you should use Oxford Commas.

About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
This entry was posted in Authors, Bloggers, States. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.