Monday, February 21, 2011

*Insert Siren Noise Here* Punctuation Police!

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grammar is known as ‘the characteristic system of inflections and syntax of a language’. In grammar school (Ha, see what I did there?) we learn our ABC’s, 123’s, and Do Re Mi’s. We even begin learning some of the simplest sentence structure you will ever encounter; i.e. ‘Jenny ran’, ‘Doug walks’, ‘Steve eats’. If you experienced the same elementary English I did, you would have read short, yellow books with pictures of lions and giraffes on the covers. They included some of the easiest reading, but they also incorporated simple and easy punctuation. Punctuation is ‘the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units’. I learned where to put a period and when a comma should be used in simple sentence writing.

Later in my schooling, I learned the proper usage of the comma, the semi-colon, the colon, quotation marks, the apostrophe, parentheses, the hyphen, and countless other punctuation markings. I learned all these techniques, so my question is this: Did you? It seems to me that some of you either aren’t old enough to know what is right and what is wrong, and for that I apologize; this is not directed at you. I also understand English may not be your first language, and I apologize to you as well. Those of you who have spoken English since age 2, this is for you.

Those of us who have an upper middle school, high school, or college education should know better. Why can’t we use these same principles we learned in school in our blog posts? Yes, this is the internet, but this doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our speech for the easy way out. I will admit I make mistakes with my punctuation. I’ve never been a great user of the comma, and I used to use it more than I should have. As a result, I can sympathize with those of us who do not know how to properly utilize certain punctuation marks.

Not many of you know me all that well, but those who do know a little about my love for proper punctuation. In all honesty, I don’t want to read a blog with improper punctuation, and I know I am not alone in these thoughts. I would have to say one of my biggest pet peeves is the run-on sentence. No one wants to read a sentence that just keeps going on even when I change my thought oh look here we go the next part of my thought and I think I may have macaroni and cheese for dinner what do you think I think I will.

(You have no idea how painful it was to write that.)

In conclusion, please, please, please use proper punctuation. For those of you who don’t know the proper usage for some markings, I’m including some resources I’ve found helpful at the bottom of this post. I hope some of you will take notice of this post and these rules and try to improve your writing.

<3 Cassie


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