National Punctuation Day

Today! Today is National Punctuation Day! I wouldn’t have known and hadn’t ever– before today– even heard of such a thing. But bing.com delivered to me this delightful news earlier this morning, and I just couldn’t let the day pass without a small celebration.

Punctuation is Great. Really and truly Great. It’s fascinating in its sheer design. Consider, for example, my favorite punctuation mark (yes, I have one, don’t you?) the semi-colon. Here’s a stroke of genius, and here’s why: it’s a combination of a period and a comma. See? ;

I love that.

And that’s how it works in a sentence: as a combination of a period and a comma. Stronger than a comma, weaker than a period, and joining two related sentences without the power of the period’s full stop or the cumbersomeness of the comma’s pause plus the requisite conjunction.

What’s not to love?

I would go on, but I can’t. Other things to write, and none of it here. So I will leave you with the following classic paragraphs which so amusingly illustrate punctuation’s power. They are identical in terms of text but oh, so different in terms of meaning– and all because of shifts in those dots and squiggles we call punctuation.

Enjoy!

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours?
Jane

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours,
Jane


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