Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 12,350
    #1

    Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 million

    If you habitually omit Oxford commas, remember to read your lists very carefully for clarity. Maine truck drivers stand to win ten million dollars by showing that a Maine law that was probably meant to exclude them can be read to require overtime pay. When the legislature drafted the law, they followed their style guide which discourages Oxford commas.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 47,401
    #2

    Re: Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 millio

    Any chance you can show us the relevant sentence/paragraph which disastrously omitted the Oxford comma?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 12,350
    #3

    Re: Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 millio

    Certainly. It says that a rule requiring overtime pay does not apply to "The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: [agricultural, fish, and dairy products.]" The drivers were engaged in the distribution of qualifying products; their lawyer successfully argued that the final excluded class was "packing for shipment or distribution".
    I am not a teacher.

  4. VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Mar 2014
    • Posts: 6,047
    #4

    Re: Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 millio

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    their lawyer successfully argued that the final excluded class was "packing for shipment or distribution".
    Fair enough I suppose as that's how it reads. I wonder who it was that wrote that particular style guide and what their reasons behind the decision not to use Oxford commas were. Maybe it goes to show you shouldn't automatically assume that style guides always deserve their authority.

  5. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 12,350
    #5

    Re: Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 millio

    I've just read the relevant bit of the Maine Legislative Drafting Manual. While it does say "don’t use a comma between the penultimate and the last item of a series," it goes on to warn against the kind of error that led to the award and to explain how to write so as to avoid it.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 63,699
    #6

    Re: Maine legislature's style guide discourages Oxford comma; truckers win $10 millio

    Nice work by whoever spotted the interpretation. There was a big case in European law about what they meant, as translations had sometimes used slight variations, allowing people to argue something like whether it could include agents or not.

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] The Oxford Comma
    By FortOtt in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-Mar-2016, 02:55
  2. The Texas Legislature selected Vassar Miller
    By Freeguy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-Dec-2013, 21:45
  3. I win 1 million lottery, making me happy
    By duiter in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21-Sep-2010, 03:47
  4. [Idiom] Maine????
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Jun-2009, 16:53

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •