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January 20, 2013

Punctuate With Personallity

It has been said that sanity is perhaps the ability to punctuate.

I'd have to agree. Any language is made up of grammar and vocabulary. But how do we...

...understand each other on the printed page?

If you have seen the most ancient texts in almost any language, you will notice unbroken text with very little or no punctuation - or white space. Just stare at one of these pages sometime - they are packed, with no directions as to when each sentence ends and another begins.

Even if you don't know the language, imagine trying to make sense of your most familiar language on a page of such a mass of text.

Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but yes, punctuation does, at the very least help us maintain our sanity - or at least that of our readers.

I describe punctuation marks as traffic signals a writer give a reader. Punctuation marks can be as basic or as nuanced as you choose. You may have noticed that I use lots of dashes – it’s so I can pack more ideas into shorter sentences. If I didn’t do that, I’d have to write a full sentence to give a context to my point.

I describe commas as speed bumps to slow down my readers. Period are, of course, full stops.
Those are the basics. Pretty much anything else is fine tuning and allows more precision and intensity, but if you find English punctuation marks confusing, you can keep to the essentials.

If you want to develop full mastery of English punctuation marks, I have a great website for you. You’ll never mix up punctuation marks again after you study this page and get a solid grip on the idea of each punctuation mark with its own personality - http://eslinstyle.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/punctuation-personalities/?goback=.gde_1228057_member_203865605.

And if commas completely baffle you, take a look here - http://wayne-white.blogspot.com/2012/04/wherehave-all-commas-gone-anessay-by-c.html..

Posted by mmorf at January 20, 2013 05:34 PM

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