Eats, Sues, and Leaves

There was a great story on NPR today on what has been called the million dollar comma.

Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Aliant have an agreement that allows Rogers to use Bell Aliant's telephone polls. Bell Aliant would like to terminate the deal.

Two companies are in a dispute over the reading of the following paragraph in an agreement:
"This agreement shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."
If the second comma were not in place, then the agreement is a minimum of 5 years long. With the comma in place, it can be terminated at any time with one year notice.

The court validates what English teachers everywhere have been telling us for years. Commas do matter.

qv: NPR: Million-Dollar Comma May Aid Canadian Company

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.