Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eats, Sues, and Leaves

There was a great story on NPR today on what has been called the million dollar comma.

Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Aliant have an agreement that allows Rogers to use Bell Aliant's telephone polls. Bell Aliant would like to terminate the deal.

Two companies are in a dispute over the reading of the following paragraph in an agreement:
"This agreement shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."
If the second comma were not in place, then the agreement is a minimum of 5 years long. With the comma in place, it can be terminated at any time with one year notice.

The court validates what English teachers everywhere have been telling us for years. Commas do matter.

qv: NPR: Million-Dollar Comma May Aid Canadian Company

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