Close on the heels of the recent post about the Oxford comma (You can have my Oxford Comma when you pry it from my cold, dead, and lifeless hands) we highlight this blog by the Grammar Diva about our necessary friend, the comma, and how getting it wrong can lead to legal ramifications!
Last week the Oxford comma made big news: a Maine trucking company was forced to pay overtime after the lack of a comma in a law was interpreted in favor of the truckers. Here is the blog post that talks about that article.
I researched a bit and found that there are several famous stories where punctuation has been crucial to interpretation of a law.
First, there is the “comma defense.” Was it going to be life in prison or the death penalty for Clifford L. Robinson? The federal sentencing code reads, “. . . death or life in prison, or a fine or both . . .” A fine for murder? Read more…