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Old 09-26-2011, 01:19 PM   #61
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The importance of grammar & punctuation:
Rogers Communications Inc
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Language buffs take note — Page 7 of the contract states: 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.” ...
It's an interesting example, but I don't understand it. Omitting that second comma does not, in my opinion, make possible the "Rogers" interpretation, according to which there is no cancellation during the initial 5 year period. But if I add a comma after "thereafter", I can find the "Rogers" interpretation this way: "... and thereafter, it shall continue in force for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

Note that in the news article, the opinion of the regulator is quoted that the ruling has to do with "the rules of punctuation", but there is no actual reference to the second comma in the ruling. I suggest that the omission of a comma after "thereafter" is more relevant.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:21 PM   #62
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Greg, which law school did you attend?
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:37 PM   #63
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Greg, which law school did you attend?
The closest I ever came to arguing a legal issue was when a lawyer defending a pornography case wanted me to testify about the interpretation of an obscurely worded statute. It was an interesting issue, but the only interpretation I could find argued against his client's interest, so I didn't get to testify. (Having reached this conclusion, should I have contacted the public prosecutor?)
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:52 PM   #64
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:11 PM   #65
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It's an interesting example, but I don't understand it. Omitting that second comma does not, in my opinion, make possible the "Rogers" interpretation, according to which there is no cancellation during the initial 5 year period. But if I add a comma after "thereafter", I can find the "Rogers" interpretation this way: "... and thereafter, it shall continue in force for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

Note that in the news article, the opinion of the regulator is quoted that the ruling has to do with "the rules of punctuation", but there is no actual reference to the second comma in the ruling. I suggest that the omission of a comma after "thereafter" is more relevant.
If you remove the portion between the commas, i.e. the parenthetical element, it reads thus:

“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.”
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:22 PM   #66
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I think this would definitely be the place to recruit subjects for an OCD study.

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Old 09-26-2011, 02:39 PM   #67
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If you remove the portion between the commas, i.e. the parenthetical element, it reads thus:

“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.”
Yes, and that gives the "Aliant" interpretation, according to which the contract can be terminated within the first 5 year period. But how do you get the "Rogers" interpretation, according to which the contract can only be terminated after the first 5 year period?
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:44 PM   #68
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Sumtimes I get so nucular, I have to go to the liberry to calm down and get new idears.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:45 PM   #69
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I think this would definitely be the place to recruit subjects for an OCD study.

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OCD - good point. A few other traits come to mind as well when reading this thread.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:50 PM   #70
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Yes, and that gives the "Aliant" interpretation, according to which the contract can be terminated within the first 5 year period. But how do you get the "Rogers" interpretation, according to which the contract can only be terminated after the first 5 year period?
Possibly by removing the first comma? I guess Rogers 'assumed' that "everyone will know what we mean".
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:44 PM   #71
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The one that jumps out at me often (pronounced with the t audible ) is the use of insure instead of ensure. It is quite surprising how even well-regarded websites and publications get this one wrong.

I've also noticed how many people who make much more money than me have terrible spelling and grammar, so obviously this isn't an indicator of prospective financial success.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:54 PM   #72
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The one that jumps out at me often (pronounced with the t audible )


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is the use of insure instead of ensure. It is quite surprising how even well-regarded websites and publications get this one wrong.
I assure you if you insure yourself you will ensure the sureness of your loved ones.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:12 PM   #73
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I assure you if you insure yourself you will ensure the sureness of your loved ones.
I'm reassured.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:13 PM   #74
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I've also noticed how many people who make much more money than me have terrible spelling and grammar, so obviously this isn't an indicator of prospective financial success.
Uh, Major Tom...

I think it should be: ...people who make much more money than I have terrible...

(But this is in the spirit of this thread only).
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:13 PM   #75
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I'm reassured.
Most assuredly.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:18 PM   #76
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Uh, Major Tom...

I think it should be: ...people who make much more money than I have terrible...

(But this is in the spirit of this thread only).
Good point! In the spirit of the thread, I notice a lot of things in both written and spoken words that are technically "wrong." In real life, most of us really don't care (okay, except maybe for "it's" instead of "its"--that one I might have to point out).
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:53 PM   #77
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Possibly by removing the first comma? I guess Rogers 'assumed' that "everyone will know what we mean".
For your entertainment -- a U.S. Supreme Court opinion based, in large measure, on the existence of a comma.

U.S. V. RON PAIR ENTERPRISES, 489 U. S. 235 :: Volume 489 :: 1989 :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:11 PM   #78
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Who would've thought this thread would go viral?
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:30 PM   #79
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I've always understood that either form of serial commas was considered acceptable, but I've always tried to stick with including the comma in the last item in the list. So...

'red, white, and blue.' over 'red, white and blue.'

It always seemed clearer to me. Recently, I read a great example of how the final comma can add clarity - ahhh, here's the example I was looking for:

COMMAS: The Biggest Little Quirks in the English Language - Hohonu

Quote:
I dedicate this book to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

Here, omitting the final comma suggests that the last two items are a special pair (an appositive for parents) (Lynch, 2001).
So it makes it sound like the parents are Ayn Rand and God. But with the final comma, it's clear that there is a list of three references.

Quote:
The serial comma problem becomes more evident in this example: We have several positions available: copywriter, ad executive, receptionist and typist. How many positions are available? As it is written, it could be either three or four, depending on whether or not the receptionist is also the typist. If there are four open positions, a comma between receptionist and typist makes this clear. Commas are for clarity.
Possessives are my downfall, I don't think I'll ever get through my mental block on those (other than it's = it is). Too many convoluted rules w/o logic. I read once they were based on the old forms of words that we no longer use - and that is why it is so confusing.

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Old 09-26-2011, 06:39 PM   #80
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I've always understood that either form of serial commas was considered acceptable, but I've always tried to stick with including the comma in the last item in the list. So...

'red, white, and blue.' over 'red, white and blue.'


-ERD50
Lynne Truss, author of Eats Shoots & Leaves, says "the so-called Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) . . . is a lot more dangerous than its exclusive, ivory-tower moniker might suggest. There are people who embrace the Oxford comma and people who don't, and I'll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken."
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