Misplaced Comma costs $2.13 million dollars

Life is good. Yes, grammar has struck a blow for itself. Rogers Communications is expected to lose $2,130,000 because of a misplaced comma in a contract. Yes, the world’s most expensive comma.

I always espouse good grammar and ridicule people who screw it up (normal typos excused). However this is what we call ‘priceless’ — and you should all read the column in the Toronto Globe and Mail .

The whole thing comes down to this: 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.’

Well, let’s look at the comma in red, though I’ve highlighted the previous word to make it easy to find. Without the comma it’s a five-year contract which renews for successive 5-year terms. With the comma, it says the contract can be terminated with one year notice regardless of the terms. This is standard contract verbiage. The judge has ruled that the contract is quite clear and is allowing it to be terminated. And I, for one, am pleased.

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