Tag Archives: grammar

Oxford Comma Decides Court Case in Maine Labor Dispute

Never underestimate the power of good grammar.

Source: Oxford Comma Decides Court Case in Maine Labor Dispute

By Kyle Scott Clauss

Vampire Weekend and the AP Stylebook be damned! The Oxford comma—or rather, the lack of one—helped decide a Maine court case over overtime pay for dairy workers earlier this week.

Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma is used before a conjunction like “and” or “or” in a series of three or more items. (For example: “I’m going to buy some eggs, milk, and bread.”) Critics feel it’s clunky and superfluous, while diehard supporters believe it’s absolutely essential for clarity. (For what it’s worth, Boston magazine’s official style uses the Oxford comma.)

Delivery drivers for Oakhurst Dairy won their suit against the Portland milk and cream company, after a U.S. court of appeals found that the wording of Maine’s overtime rules were written ambiguously. Per state law, the following activities are not eligible 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.

Oakhurst argued that “distribution of” was separate from “packing for shipment,” which would allow the company to claim exemption from paying its delivery drivers over time. In trying to prove lawmakers’ intent, Oakhurst even pointed to Maine’s legislative style guide, which advises against using the Oxford comma.

“For want of a comma, we have this case,” U.S. appeals judge David J. Barron wrote.

The appeals court ruled in favor of the five delivery drivers Monday, citing the “remedial purpose” of the state’s overtime laws as reason to interpret them liberally. So rejoice, grammar nerds, and know that the law is on your side.




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Repeat after me.

Repeat after me.

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Writing tip Wednesday: Grammar Gremlins

Humor and Grammar Gremlins -- from 1979

Humor and Grammar Gremlins — from 1979

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Monday morning writing joke: “Grammar gremlin”

An alien crash lands on earth, wanders into a small town, finds the only house with a novelist in it and knocks on the door.

The novelist answers and after the initial shock of seeing such a strange creature, the creature hands him a note. It reads: “In your language, I have come to invade and conquer.”

The novelist scribbles something on a piece of notebook paper, tears it out, and hands it to the alien: “Why?”

The alien types in something on his keyboard and out prints his response: “Because you are weak and we are strong and this world has many things to offer us.”

“Does that include the asteroid on a collision course toward earth?” the novelist asks.

The alien thinks about that. After a moment, the alien turns and leaves.

The novelist turns back to his writing, knowing nobody would believe him if he put this incident in his novel: an alien with good grammar. Unbelievable. After all, fiction had to be believable.

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Monday morning writing joke: “Correction”

Two writers were sitting at a bar, as writers are sometimes known to do.

A woman at a table near the bar was doing her best to get the attention of one of the writers. The other writer noticed this and asked the first writer what was going on.

First writer: “She sent me a text message.”

Second writer: “A fan of yours?”

First message: “I hope not. Her message said: ‘Y-o-u-r cute.’ I sent her back a message that said: ‘No. Y-O-U-R-‘-E cute.’ I was only correcting her misspelling.”

Second writer: “And?”

First writer: “And now she thinks I like her. I can’t get her to leave me alone.”

Second writer: “Here, let me see you phone.”

First writer hands the second writer his phone. Second writer types a message and sends it. The woman looks at it, shows it to her friend, puts a sour look on her face, and then gets up and leaves.

First writer: “What did you write?”

Second writer shows him. The message read: “You’re not my typo.”

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Do You Really Know All The 12 English Tenses?

Do You Really Know All The 12 English Tenses?.

Sixteen chances to get things right … or wrong.

Give it a try at: http://www.playbuzz.com/shira10/do-you-know-all-12-english-tenses

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National Punctuation Day

Happy National Punctuation Day!


Why not take a period (.) to dinner? Maybe even two: (.) (.) You know, take them out for some period food.

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