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Oxford Comma

John Demille

Well, a court ruled on it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/us/oxford-comma-maine.html

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@John Demille

https://storiesonline.net/d/s2/t3558/oxford-serial-comma-wins

Not exactly.

It was a 1st circuit court of appeals decision. It's not binding on the other circuit courts or on lower courts in the other circuits.

The case was remanded back to district court but then settled out of court so the issue won't go to the US Supreme court on this case.

The Maine state legislature amended the law at issue, but rather than adding the extra comma, they switched the whole list to semi-colons.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

but rather than adding the extra comma, they switched the whole list to semi-colons.


They didn't only replace commas with semicolons. They added a semicolon where the Oxford comma should have been. All that shows is the Oxford comma was needed.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

All that shows is the Oxford comma was needed.


Or that the 1st Circuit panel that heard the case are pedantic ass-hats.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

pedantic? It sounds to me like the defendants' lawyer pointing out an ambiguity in the laws meaning, rather than the court's opinions on punctuation. The main culprit would be the Maine legislature not recognizing that an ambiguity existed.

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.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/oxford-comma-lawsuit.html

As the article and the defendant's lawyer says, add the comma and the law would mean the truckers would not be entitled to overpay. Without the comma, the law can be interpreted as "packing for shipment or distribution", which means the people packing the product for shipment and distribution would be excluded for overtime, but not the distribution of the packed product by the truckers.

Personally, I think the Maine legislature overreacted in a childish manner by using semicolons. But they did add a semicolon to clarify their intent of excluding the truckers from overtime.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@REP

Personally, I think the Maine legislature overreacted in a childish manner by using semicolons. But they did add a semicolon to clarify their intent of excluding the truckers from overtime.


Or they never understood the issue in the first place.

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