Does Punctuation Matter?

Does Punctuation Matter?

Does Punctuation Matter?

If you’re not a fan of rants, then you need to avert your eyes from this post. Because I’m getting really, really tired of people who don’t even try with their punctuation. It’s one thing to misplace a comma occasionally or to not know 100% of the time whether to use a semicolon. But c’mon, all you people who write for a living! How about paying just the slightest bit of attention to punctuation? And speaking of writing, here’s my article about why writing headlines is a pain in the asterisk.

Semicolons Don't Have to be Fearsome

Semicolons Don’t Have to be Fearsome

Semicolons: the Most Feared of all Punctuation?

Let’s get the scariest punctuation mark out of the way first. The Oatmeal has an article about semicolons being the most feared of all punctuation. If you’re a fan of the t.v. show “Fringe,” then you know how two people can exist separately. Like Walter and Walternate, they are separate but related. Both Walters have Peter in common; Peter is the person who often brings the two Walters together. And the same is true of semicolons–they bring two separate but related ideas together.

The Question Mark

The Question Mark

Question Marks

A question mark indicates that there is a question! If you put one at the end of a sentence that isn’t a question, you could sound like you lack confidence. If there needs to be one (HINT: Who, What, Where, When, and How are friends of the question mark), put one in. Could you do that? Please? And I don’t know about you, but a question mark without any text before it reminds me of Scooby Doo. If you have questions about starting a blog for your startup, here’s an article for that.

Exclamation Marks Are Not the Drones of the Punctuation World

Exclamation Marks Are Not the Drones of the Punctuation World

Exclamation Marks Are Not the Drones of the Punctuation World

Despite what you may have been thinking, exclamation marks are worthwhile and honorable. Is it their fault that they’ve been abused? No! People tend to overuse exclamation marks, thinking that more is better. That is certainly not the case. If you’re a Scrabble player, here’s a fab article about some historical names for our friend, the exclamation mark: Bang, pling, boing, shriek, gasper, screamer, christer, and other exclamation mark aliases. Warning: some are NSFW.

End Apostrophe Abuse!

End Apostrophe Abuse!

Apostrophe Abuse

Everyone abuses the poor apostrophe, with grocery stores being the worst. Listen, we don’t need an apostrophe to know that apples (not “apple’s”) are on sale. Maybe people put them in to let us know that an “S” is coming. If those pesky apostrophes are giving you nightmares, don’t forget to look on the internet for articles. Here’s a good one: Using Apostrophes to Show Possession from the “Dummies” people.

Periods Help You Get to the Point

Periods Help You Get to the Point

Periods

This little guy is for ending a sentence. He’s tiny, yet powerful. Just when your sentence gets up to speed, he puts on the brakes and stops it. (Did you see what I did there?) Of all the punctuation out there in Punctuation Land, the period is maybe the easiest to master.

That is all.

That is all.

End Rant?

Punctuation does matter. And in case you were wondering, there will probably be another post about our friends in the punctuation world. Meantime, tell me how you feel about punctuation! Like it? Hate it? Indifferent? Leave me a comment!

 

 

Comments

  1. The over use of “…” to stand for a pause is driving me crazy.

    The ellipsis indicates missing text.

    A pause — is best indicated with double hyphens.

    Also, “The Willard’s” instead “The Willards” not to mention “your/you’re” and “to/too” which are constantly abused — by college graduates.

  2. For me, it seriously comes down to being lazy or contrarian. I know the rules back and forth at this point, I just have no interest in applying them sometimes because a) I’m in a rush b) It’s been a long day and I don’t care or 3) screw your rules that’s why! ANARCHY!!!

  3. I prefer writer’s license (sort of like literary license) but I get to punctuate as I see fit! Bit, alas, I do know said rules. “To use of not use” – is my choice!!! PS = End Rant.

  4. I think at a certain point schools stopped teaching punctuation because, as school standards started to fall, someone decided that it was more important to see if students understood the concepts of what they were reading rather than understanding proper writing techniques. I know so many young people who have no idea how to use semicolons. I also know a lot who, because they talk where every sentence sounds like a question, they tend to add question marks to much of what they write. Sigh… lol

    • Hi Mitch,
      Making every sentence into a question will surely lead to the downfall of civilization. I’d like to return to a world where there are semicolons, and where the abuse of apostrophes does not exist.
      Am I delusional? Maybe.
      Thank you for your comments!
      Carol

  5. Great post Carol, AKA rant (not really). You make valid points, for which, I am thankful? No, I am thankful!

  6. Hey Carol,

    I loved this post? Punctuation does matter!!!!

    All jokes aside, I am probably guilty of these sometimes. I’m writing this comment with shaky hands (kidding). My native language is Dutch, but that’s really no excuse. However, when it comes to copy for example, a spelling or grammar mistake can actually improve conversion rates. Pretty crazy, ain’t it?

    Perfect grammar is important to people who care about grammar, because they see it. That’s just how it works. But if the meaning comes across, you have essentially communicated successfully. Your boat floats, so to speak. But I agree that we could make it shine by keeping our grammar on point.

    Thanks for the reminder and the painful nudge, LOL!

    – Jasper

    • Hello Jasper,

      Sometimes Europeans have better spelling and grammar than us Americans. I would not have guessed that your first language was Dutch!

      As a writer (and former editor), mistakes jump off the page at me. I don’t mean to be a snob that way. Sometimes we need to make allowances for people whose first language isn’t English (not you!), or who have not had the same opportunities.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Carol

  7. Lisa Eldridge says:

    You’re right; grocery stores ARE the worst!

    !!!!

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