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Oxford (serial) comma wins!

Bondi Beach

In Saturday's NYT.

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Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

Clearly you didn't read the article all the way through.

On verge of victory, the Oxford comma was stabbed in the back by the semi-colon.

It appears the Maine Legislature has learned its lesson, at least. It revised the disputed state law last year to end ambiguity by adding new punctuation — but not in the way you might be thinking.


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.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Bondi Beach

Loved it.

Did you notice the first sentence in the article ("Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs") did not use the serial comma? Why? The Times stylebook discourages it's use. So I guess the dispute has not been settled.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Clearly you didn't understand who won in this case. The judge read the sentence at issue, *lacking the Oxford comma*, in favor of the drivers. In other words, the Oxford comma "won" by showing its absence disadavantaged the drafters.

I call that a win for the comma. That the legislature, in their infinite ignorance and spite chose to substitute semicolons for the comma, is irrelevant.

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Replies:   Dominions Son
Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

So I guess the dispute has not been settled.


Right. Although the case at issue is a perfect example of why the comma is needed for clarity. Or the semi-colon if you want to be crude about it.

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Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

Clearly you didn't understand who won in this case.


1. No one won the court case. It was settled out of court.

Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers


2. The author of the article seems to disagree with your interpretation.

But the resolution means there will be no ruling from the land's highest courts on whether the Oxford comma — the often-skipped second comma in a series like "A, B, and C" — is an unnecessary nuisance or a sacred defender of clarity, as its fans and detractors endlessly debate.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Dominions Son

No one won the court case. It was settled out of court.
Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers


To the tune of $5,000,000 dollars. I'd call that a win. Yes, the attorneys get a good chunk, but so what?

Of course the issue wasn't settled. It was the battle, not the war, but I doubt the drivers care much about the war.

The world can continue to argue about how many angels can dance or give blowjobs on the head of serial comma, but if I were writing a document that might be tested in court, I would sure as sh*t include the comma. Waving the AP or NYT stylebook at the judge won't cut it.

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Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

To the tune of $5,000,000 dollars. I'd call that a win. Yes, the attorneys get a good chunk, but so what?

Of course the issue wasn't settled. It was the battle, not the war, but I doubt the drivers care much about the war.

The drivers won, the company didn't lose as much as they might have otherwise, but the courts never decided on the legal status of the oxford comma, meaning it's legal necessity is still an open issue.

Besides, while one judge might agree with you about the serial comma, the next will surely disagree with it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Judges are lawyers, and all lawyers are the same - gather any 10 lawyers and ask for an opinion, and you'll end up with 14 or more opinions.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Judges are lawyers, and all lawyers are the same - gather any 10 lawyers and ask for an opinion, and you'll end up with 14 or more opinions.

But gather 10 authors, and you end up with seven different opinions, three blogs, one historical non-fiction and three novels, none of which pay for their hours spent on the projects.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Centaur
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

But gather 10 authors, and you end up with seven different opinions, three blogs, one historical non-fiction and three novels, none of which pay for their hours spent on the projects.


True, and 2 of the blogs will probably be by self-published authors who use a vanity press.

Centaur

@Crumbly Writer


The world can continue to argue about how many angels can dance or give blowjobs on the head of serial comma, but if I were writing a document that might be tested in court, I would sure as sh*t include the comma. Waving the AP or NYT stylebook at the judge


Your forgetting one on line forum and three threads

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Centaur

Your forgetting one on line forum and three threads

Your attribution is wrong. You were responding to Bondi's comment, not mine.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Your attribution is wrong. You were responding to Bondi's comment, not mine.


He quoted me but he was responding to your comment earlier:

But gather 10 authors, and you end up with seven different opinions, three blogs, one historical non-fiction and three novels, none of which pay for their hours spent on the projects.

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