Misplacing a Comma Can Cost You. How Much? More Than A Million Dollars!
If you happen to work in the legal division of Rogers Communications Inc., you’ve already learned the lesson that punctuation matters.
A misplaced comma in a contract to string cable lines along utility poles accounted for a loss for the Canadian company. The magnitude of the loss: A whopping $ 2.3 Million.
Did you recognize the error the first time you read the statement?
Page seven of the contract had this excerpt:
“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.”
The Devil is in the details, Look minutely and you will get it.
Having difficulties? Think this declaration is okay?
If You were CRTC, would you recognize such an error?
Let me clarify now…. The second comma is the Devil.
Based on the rules of punctuation the CRTC regulators observed that the comma in question allows for the termination of the contract at any time, without cause, upon one year’s written notice.
Shocked! The news is true. This is what a single punctuation mistake can do in this commercial and highly professional global economy.
Know Your Language
As we see having a technical knowledge of official language is a must these days. With thousands of agreements and contracts being signed around the globe each hour, one has to be careful about what he puts to paper.
Polishing grammar is not a tough exercise. It can be achieved in a short span of time. Some of the steps which can be followed are:
1. Devote not much but 30 minutes each day to enhance your grammar and punctuation.
2. Get a good grammar book. You can find some options on the right.
3. Maintain a regular practice of 10 minute concept reading and 10 minute practicing.
4. Analyze and review your errors for the last 5 minutes.
There you are, believe me… You will notice a difference in the next few days.
Although the news is six years old it’s present significance is hard to neglect. We should be strictly aware of what we write these days… one wrong comma, on wrong exclamation and lo… we are in for million dollar treats like these.
After writing this hub, the first thing I did was check the grammar three times…
Stay Alert and Write Safe my friends!