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How a Missing Oxford Comma Cost a Portland Dairy Over $5,000,000 in Overtime

Items in a series should always be separated by a comma, including the final items that have a conjunction between them. Otherwise, your meaning might not be clear. The Oxford comma became very important in a Maine labor law when truck drivers sued for overtime pay. Their company assumed they were exempt. Exempt workers included those who worked in the "canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of..." Okay, would you interpret the word "distribution" as a modifier of the packers, or a category unto itself? The entire case sat on that interpretation. It's not the only instance where proper punctuation made a big difference, as you'll see in this video from Half as Interesting. -via Laughing Squid

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