Go, Team Oxford Comma!
Oxford commas are important.
There's a court case decision that shows it's always important, and not just academically correct. (Hush up, Academics Against the Oxford Comma - you are objectively Wrong.)
Here's the scoop: a dairy delivery company in Maine had a nice, long list of activities that didn't qualify for overtime pay for their workers.
The canning, processing, preserving,Now, the entire case hinged on the phrase "packing for shipment or distribution." Does it refer to two separate activities ("packing for shipment" and "distribution"), both of which are exempted, or does it refer to one activity ("packing for shipment or distribution") and leave the actual distribution off the list? There's enough ambiguity in the phrasing that the court ruled in favor of the drivers, who felt entitled to overtime wages. If the company had used the Oxford comma, as is clearly the Way of Righteousness, there would have been no confusion.
freezing, drying, marketing, storing,
packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
So, kiddos, remember - always use the Oxford comma, and keep this list of links to show anyone who says it's not necessary:
- The Oxford Comma: Great For Listing, Pontificating, And Winning Court Cases
- A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of an Oxford comma
- An Oxford comma changed this court case completely
Also, a cool video:
Now, who's ready for a pretty picture?
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