For most people, a stray comma isn’t the end of the world. But in some cases, the exact placement of a punctuation mark can cost huge sums of money.
How much can a misplaced comma cost you?
If you’re texting a loved one or dashing off an email to a colleague, the cost of misplacing a piece of punctuation will be – at worst – a red face and a minor mix-up.
But for some, contentious commas can be a path to the poor house.
A dairy company in the US city of Portland, Maine settled a court case for $5m earlier this year because of a missing comma.
Three lorry drivers for Oakhurst Dairy claimed that they were owed years of unpaid overtime wages, all because of the way commas were used in legislation governing overtime payments.
The state’s laws declared that overtime wasn’t due for workers involved in “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”.
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