Some of us in the Ragan Communications newsroom were growing anxious this
week when we realized that we hadn’t run across a good online brawl over
the Oxford comma in weeks.
So it was a relief when we noticed a blowup on the web and in the
Twittersphere over the use—or absence—of the shrimp-shaped punctuation.
“A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of anOxford comma,” Quartz reported, adding, “A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime
pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead,
it hinged on one missing comma.”
echoed the victory for proponents (or defeat for opponents) of what is also known as the
serial comma—oddly using a URL that classified the story in its “Health”
section. Perhaps they meant mental health, given the anxiety the comma, or
its absence, induces.
Lawyers everywhere scurried to double-check the punctuation on their
briefs. The Washington Post’s law blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, headlined it
thus: “‘A, B or C’ vs. ‘A, B, or C’ — the serial comma and the law.”
As Quartz explained:
The serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma for its endorsement by the
Oxford University Press style rulebook, is a comma used just before the
coordinating conjunction (“and,” or “or,” for example) when three or more
terms are listed. You’ll see it in the first sentence of this story—it’s
the comma after “milk”—but you won’t find it in the Maine overtime rule at
issue in the Oakhurst Dairy case. According to state law, the following
types of activities are among those that don’t qualify for overtime pay:
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.
As Quartz adds, “There, in the comma-less space between the words
‘shipment’ and ‘or,’ the fate of Kevin O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy was
argued. Is packing …read more
Via:: PR Daily