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: 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!