7 costly clerical errors

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People make mistakes all the time.  Some, however, are bigger than others.  Here are some cases where a simple misspelling, punctuation error, or forgetfulness cost someone millions of dollars.

Rogers Communications thought they had an ironclad five year contract with Aliant. However Aliant, being the grammar police that they are, saw it differently. They cited this sentence: The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five-year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.” Had the second comma not been there, Aliant would have had to honor the first five years of the contract before anything could be changed. But because of the comma, Aliant cancelled it early and almost tripled their prices, costing Rogers Communications $2.13 million.

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From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by sish2000.


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Did anyone catch the mistakes in the story itself?

(It was supposed to be “Googol”, what they thought would be short for googolplex)

Should be--- "Googol,"

In 2006, an broker for Mizuho Securities in Japan wanted to sell off a share of J-Com stock.

Should be--- a broker
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In continuation of Erikarose85's explanation:

If you omit the middle phrase (allowed because of the second comma), you get "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party"

As in, either party can terminate the contract as long as they give one year's notice.

This is similar to the test many people use for deciding between 'me' and I' in a compound noun phrase. You know it has to be "Jon went to the movie with Molly and me," because if you omit "Molly and," then "Jon went to the movie with I," is clearly wrong.
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The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five-year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.”

Because of the second comma, the phrase between the two comments can be ommitted if necessary. Had they written it like this: "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five-year terms unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.” then they would have to do the first five years before they could terminate the contract. Hope this helps.
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Could someone please explain the Aliant/Rogers comma fiasco? I keep reading and rereading that paragraph but can't figure out how the 2nd comma meant Aliant could ignore the initial 5 yr deal!
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