The Oxford Comma and Proofreading

March 31st, 2017

Learn the real-life importance of proofreading your work.

 

Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Executive Assistant at SafeSourcing

For many of us, our schooling has emphasized the importance of proofreading our written works. This is supposed to eliminate any grammatical and punctuation errors, remove redundant ideas, and help keep a message fluid and comprehensible. Outside of the classroom and into the business world, proofreading should be even more important, but is often rushed or not done at all. This oversight and missing errors in a written work can affect your business, and your pocket.

As some background, the Oxford comma is the last comma used to separate a list of items. While it is often acceptably omitted, omitting it can change the meaning of a sentence. The oxford comma is used in the sentence, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy, and Bob Hope.” Clearly, the meaning of this sentence is that you see two people plus two dancers, for a total of four people. The same sentence, without the Oxford comma, “You see two dancers, President Kennedy and Bob Hope,” implies that you see two dancers, one being President Kennedy, and one being Bob Hope.

The real-life effects of omitting the Oxford comma can have detrimental effects on business. For example, a recent article described how the lack of the Oxford comma left one company to pay millions of dollars in a lawsuit. As the New York Times reported, the lack of the Oxford comma in one of Oakhurst Dairy’s contracts forced the company to pay $10 million for overtime it wasn’t expecting to pay.

While this is just one example, this situation demonstrates why proofreading is more important than ever, especially in business. Simple typing errors, misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and unclear language can leave customers and clients wondering about the quality of a business. On the other hand, clear, well-written, and informative language can bring in customers and clients.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your contracts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

 

 

 

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