Posted by: episystechpubs | July 30, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Punctuation

Some of you may be familiar with the story about an Ohio woman using a punctuation error to get herself out of a parking ticket. Andrea Cammelleri received a citation for violating a parking time limit ordinance by leaving her pickup truck parked in the same spot for longer than 24 hours.

According to West Jefferson Codified Ordinances 351.16(a):

“It shall be unlawful for any person * * * to park * * * upon any

street * * * in the Village, any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm

implement and/or non-motorized vehicle for a continued period of

twenty-four hours * * *.”

Initially Cammelleri was found guilty of violating the parking ordinance. She filed an appeal and argued that the ordinance did not apply to her because her pickup truck not fit the description of “motor vehicle camper” (note the missing comma between “motor vehicle” and “camper”). A judge sided with her and dismissed the parking citation because the ordinance was ambiguous.

So folks, remember to avoid ambiguity in your writing and never underestimate the power of a comma.

If you are interested in reading more, here is the court document, which references the comma rule in The Chicago Manual of Style.

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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