Comma Love

A big thank you for your support for Sin and Syntax, and especially the e-book. The recent promotion on Penguin Random and BookBub spread the subversive word, and I appreciated readers who shared links on social media and sent me messages. One of those messages involved a funny story reported by the AP. We all know that a firm grasp on grammar rules can prevent tangled communication, but did you know it can also help you get out of a parking ticket? Apparently, the 12th Ohio District Court of Appeals sided with Andrea Cammelleri when the central Ohio resident contested a parking ticket for letting her car hog a spot for longer than 24 hours. Cammelleri’s argument? The law was missing punctuation. Specifically, a comma. The West Jefferson, Ohio, ordinance specified that “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” was prohibited from parking in that area for more than 24 hours. There should have been a comma between “motor vehicle” and “camper,” argued Cammelleri. Without it, her pickup didn’t technically fall into any of these vehicle categories. Judge Robert Hendrickson agreed with her. (I, of course, have my own set of punctuation pet peeves and only wish that I, too, could hand out pardons for those who care about commas!) Keep reading. Keep writing. And, hey, maybe your eye for grammar will get you out of trouble one of these days.

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