Why Does Grammar Matter?

Bank robber with poor spelling skills pleads guilty

BOSTON - A Massachusetts man authorities dubbed the "spelling bee bandit" because the notes he passed the tellers during multiple bank robberies contained the same spelling error has pleaded guilty... Authorities say the Chelsea man entered an Arlington bank, approached a teller and handed over a note written on a deposit slip indicating a robbery was in progress, except robbery was spelled with just one  "b." Over the next few weeks, he robbed [other] banks using notes with the same misspelling. He was arrested last December.

French city to send misspelled Montpelier jerseys to Vermont

MONTPELIER - Vermont's capital city is saying merci to France for a spelling error on some soccer jerseys. The city manager in Montpelier, VT, say Montpellier, France ordered jerseys for its professional soccer team and fans, but they came in misspelled, with just one L instead of two. City manager Bill Fraser says the French city has decided to send them to Montpelier, VT, which is spelled with one L, not two. Fraser said Thursday that the jerseys will go to the Montpelier High School soccer teams and possibly sold in the community benefit the high school boosters.

Lack of Comma Sense Ignites Debate After Ruling in $10M Suit

PORTLAND - It all came down to a missing comma, and not just any one. And it's reignited a longstanding debate over whether the punctuation is necessary. A federal appeals court decided this week to keep alive a lawsuit by dairy drivers seeking more than $10 million in an overtime pay dispute. It concerned Maine's overtime law, which doesn't apply to the "canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of" foods. There's no Oxford, or serial, comma in "packing or shipment or distribution" part. The drivers said the words referred to the single activity of packing, which the drivers don't do. The defendant, Oakhurst Dairy, said the words referenced two different activities and drivers fall within the exemption. Circuit Judge David Barron wrote: "For want of a comma, we have this case." The court sided with the drivers. "Comma sense ain't so common," Jeffrey Neil Young, and attorney for the drivers, said Friday.