What Broadway’s Hamilton Teaches about Legal Interpretation

Comma placement matters. Broadway musical Hamilton’s Angelica Schuyler sings in “Take a Break”: In a letter I received from you two weeks ago I noticed a comma in the middle of a phrase It changed the meaning. Did you intend this? One stroke and you’ve consumed my waking days Hamilton wrote “My dearest, Angelica.” He calls Angelica his “dearest,” a noun expressing extreme affection. If Hamilton had omitted the comma, “dearest” would be an adjective. The phrase in a letter to his sister-in-law would be more formal, like the “Dear Sir” opening of a business letter.

Originally published October 11, 2016
Last updated April 26, 2018
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