With all the breaking news out there - Clay Aiken, Lindsay Lohan, Abe Vigoda - I’d hate for a story to get lost. And National Punctuation Day is just that kind of story.
For most people, punctuation is an irritant: a misused collection of periods, commas, virgules, question marks and exclamation points that is thrown, willy-nilly, into an e-mail or text message. But for some of us, punctuation is an overlooked treasure. Without punctuation, a declaration turns into a question. Without punctuation, sentences run endlessly until they bump into the next page. Without (correct) punctuation, Canada’s Rogers Communications may not have lost more than $2 million.
So, celebrate the semicolon. Offer hosannas for hyphens. Pay attention to asterisks. National Punctuation Day only comes around once a year - and that day calls for more than one exclamation point!!!
OK, maybe not.
– Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
P.S. Any errors made in the previous are the fault of my copy editor.
Have been looking at doing some site optimization and improving the web design on my website for a while, so this website has been really helpful. Clear read as well, so thanks!
The really ironic thing is that the very first post (from Mel, holder of a B.A. in English) has a grammatical error. Mel, please tell me that was intentional.
Haha...who cares if you have a B.A. in English? You act as though that's impressive. Also, doesn't that mean you studied literature and not grammar and punctuation? I think we're in trouble if they still have to teach you the basics in college.
And I love how you misused "that" vs. "who". How's that for irony?
Good on you, America.
I wonder if we have such a day in Australia.
Representatives of the popular Times Roman font recently announced a shortage of periods and have offered substitutes–such as inverted commas, exclamation marks, and semicolons–until the crisis is overcome by people such as yourself, who through creative management of surplus punctuation can perhaps allay the constant demand for periods, whose heavy usage in the last ten years (not only in English but in virtually every language in the world) is creating a burden on writers everywhere, thus generating a litany of comments, among them: "What the hell am I supposed to do without my periods? How am I going to write? Isn't this a terrible disaster? Are they crazy? Won't this just lead to misuse of other, less interesting punctuation???"
Now what we need is "Use the Correct Pronoun Day".
I'm afraid your Haiku isn't a Haiku. It's 5, 8, 5. But I liked the idea...
This blog is so neat.
Punctuation is awesome!
So are Haiku's, right?
National Popcorn Day is a lot more fun! (Jan. 19th...ish)
Yahoo Answers will try to correct you if you use punctuation. Example: Mary said, "I love pizza." Yahoo will complain that you have too much punctuation. No wonder kids today are confused!
What a glorious day! I never knew that "National Punctuation Day" even existed, but I'm certainly happy to find that it does, in fact, exist. I may not be 100% perfect with my use, but I am a still a stickler for correct punctuation. I have received texts and emails, always littered with gross misspellings, where the writer does not use a single period, comma, question mark, etcetera, and it can be so frustrating and confusing that sometimes my only recourse is to reply back "Is that English?!" So, although most people probably do not know or care what today is, I am going to celebrate with gusto!
I am only be a high school graduate. But grammar, punctuation, and spelling are, and always have been, important to me. My use may not always be perfect. But, I find it very sad that our children are graduating from high school without the basic understanding of the language.
I hope that we can soon address the shortcomings of our public schools and give our future generations the ability to compete in the global workforce.
As a copyeditor, punctuations are my bread and butter.
Mel, I bemoan your unneccesary comma after the word "punctuation" and your use (two times!) of "that" where "who" is required!
writerdude – you are absolutely correct! With so many "geniuses" writing in, I wondered if any would catch that. I've found that if you present something logically, most people will take it at face value. I applaud you for actually understanding. :-)
Lisa wrote: 'And the obvious that was missed by all…”a misused collection of periods, commas, virgules, question marks and exclamation points that is thrown, willy-nilly, into an e-mail or text message”
Since we are talking about a “collection” of periods, commas, etc., then the correct phrasing would be “points that ARE thrown willy-nilly…”'
Actually, the conjunctive pronoun "that" refers to "collection," so the verb should be singular as follows: " . . .a misused collection . . . is thrown willy-nilly . . . "
@Richard: My personal preference is serial commas including before the conjunction, but Associated Press style dictates that there should be no comma before the conjunction. If I recall correctly, William Safire also has a bone to pick with the AP about that.
Since there has been debate about it, is the new rule of serial commas that there is no comma before the conjunction?
"It is sad people must engross their own self-worth, validate their now useless undergraduate degrees and hide behind the shield of internet anonymity as they correct others punctuation errors in a public forum."
"It is sad people must engross their own self-worth, validate their now useless undergraduate degrees, and hide behind the shield of internet anonymity as they correct others punctuation errors in a public forum."
Now I can't go to the site to learn about punctuation day.
Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
Apache/2.2.8 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.8 OpenSSL/0.9.7a mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/188.8.131.5235 Server at http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com Port 80
Its exactly whats needed to highlight the need for people to give greater effort in making stronger showing in the form of written communications between themselves and other people and I really think whats even greater is that youre site has high-lighted this in such a prominent way;
Whoops, did I forget my comma?
You all should "Leave Mel Alone!!"
I am currently teaching in South Korea,and have taught in China.
Konglish /Chinglish/Engrish(Japan) are the oral versions used by Asians to mimic what Westerners have tried to teach them.
Very little time is given to teaching punctuation.They just don't understand it!!
Read the English versions of The Korea Times,or the China Daily newspapers and you'll see what I mean.Also blogs from these countries illustrate the complete irrelevency of punctuation.
puncuation is a thing of the past....i mean we no longer even space our words or spell them properly...so i mean whats the use?
they are all things that would go in the big book of EXTINCT !!!!
things are getting bad in the world and i guess that puncuation is not one of our priorities unfortunately :(
To Mark - I suggest my favorite spell-checking web site: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary.htm - unless, of course, you were just joking.
"I, too, have been cursed with being a spelling and grammar Nazi. It makes me absolutely crazy to see how lazy and ignorant people can be with their writing and speaking. But who’s the one to suffer? Me, not them! They couldn’t care less!"
I believe you meant to say, "I, not they."
I kept reminding myself all last week about this day, and then today I forgot about it! Go figure! In my 11th grade English classes I spent the first 10 minutes of class reviewing the uses of lay/lie instead of reviewing a topic in punctuation – yikes!
My peeve: APOSTROPHES
My fave: the semi;colon :-)
I think Friday's editing "tip" topic for my 12th grade college writing class will be the semi-colon: in celebration of this day, to aid them in Friday's editing, and to declare that it is my my favorite.
Wow! I agree with Samantha, please read before you write! Maybe this should be "be nice to punctuation lovers" week !
Unfortunately, I don't think even National Punctuation day will prevent the rampant misuse of apostrophes.
Editors unite! Happy National Punctuation Day to all. Thought for the upcoming year: beware the greengrocer's apostrophe.
Proofreaders do not do their best either. I cannot tell you how many times I have read this very website and seen errors.
As my professors taught me spell and grammar check in MS Word does not work 100%.
I am an admitted grammar/spelling offender. But for professional's it's unacceptable.
The epitome of journalistic hypocrisy appears in the very post that celebrates National Punctuation Day. Repeat after me: A-comma-B-***comma***-and-C. Why is this so difficult for journalists to get right? Remember this statement from a graduation speech: "I'd like to thank my parents, Pope John Paul and Mother Theresa." Re-read that quote until you understand: the final comma is NOT optional!
Then again, have you read CNN.com lately? My 3-year-old cat has better copy-editing skills than whoever runs their web site - and he's probably cuter too. The same is true of the text-crawls on the bottom of the screen on CNN and CNN Headline News. The day that I-T-apostrophe-S as a possessive appeared on CNN... well, let's just say that was the beginning of the end in my mind.
I also have a B.A. in English and am happy to say that I use my degree daily. I refuse to join the millions of people who use abbreviations, symbols, and silly faces to communicate via email and text message. I may be lazy about other things, but when it comes to punctuation, grammar, and spelling, I am a purist.
"As a person that holds a B.A. in English, I both applaud punctuation, and bemoan the fact that most people that e-mail seem never to have heard of it. "
I bemoan the fact that people aren't thats, people are whos.
As a person WHO holds a B.A. in English. People WHO email...
And the obvious that was missed by all..."a misused collection of periods, commas, virgules, question marks and exclamation points that is thrown, willy-nilly, into an e-mail or text message"
Since we are talking about a "collection" of periods, commas, etc., then the correct phrasing would be "points that ARE thrown willy-nilly..."
As a high school English teacher, I sometimes find it ironic that I see more errors concerning grammar and usage when reading emails from colleagues than I do in my students' essays. I guess that backs the assertion that spell/grammar check doesn't solve every problem!
In my opinion, the over-use of "quotation marks" is the most "annoying" punctuation mistakes. The sign on my office door reads: "Session in Progress" Do Not Disturb. While I'm happy to be able to celebrate punctiation day on company time and in relative peace, it saddens me that my supposed session that is in progress is apparently ironic.
punctuation lover: “If you ask for a ‘red hot momma’, you may get a sunburned woman with children who’s having hot flashes and not the ‘red-hot momma’ you were expecting”
You crack me up!
This article and its comments just made my day. :)
gregor_y – Did your professors teach you about CAPITALIZATION too? Perhaps, they should have taught you about "quotation marks," instead.
Jen, I'm so glad you mentioned apostrophes. The misuse bugs me too but I guess there are worse 'crimes' out there! Have a great day my fellow readers.
Aint none of Y'all have jobs, ore r Y'all just a bunch O inglish teechers?
Give me a break!!! The 20th century 'rules' of punctuation were never concrete. Punctuation is a fluid thing and e-mail/texting are just proof of that. The english language is the biggest mash-up of other languages and crap rules. Toddlers have it right when they say 'I goed to the store'. Get rid of all the irregulars and contradictory rules in english.
Thanks, everyone. Yes, I misspelled Mel's name, however, it is not spelling day. In the spirit fo the day, other errors in these postings include:
Bob Zisek – "For me, reading e-mail messages with little or no correct punctuation, is like finger nails on a chalk board!"
no comma after punctuation
Cathy – "How about apostrophe’s? That’s my peave"
Come on, Cathy, you must've done that on purpose!
Steve A. – This is the best article I’ve read in day’s…kudos to you all who share my love for proper punctuation…!!!
You must be joking.
When did asterisks become punctuation and what do they do? Did I completely miss something? Sh*t!
Long live National Punctuation Day! And, for more fun, celebrate National Sticky Bun Day, which is February 21.
Besides punctuation, anyone bothered when the "Star Spangled Banner" is sung incorrectly? Yes, "banner" is three notes, two syllables, not any errant variations so often heard. My elementary-school aged sons sing it correctly and are proud to do so.
Any grammar or punctuation errors in this message may have been included for fun – or perhaps via caffeine withdrawal. Y'all have a happy day anyway!
Okay, so here's the illustration:
I don't like fish however it is cooked.
I don't like fish; however, it is cooked.
I don't like fish, however; it is cooked.
I don't like fish, however; it is cooked?
Which sentence reflects what the writer really means?
Of course, all of them do. But each, by virtue of punctuation, says something different.
I applaud you all for your love of punctuation, but the message thread bears scrutiny. Had all of you been in a room together, rather than names on a website, I doubt very much that such we would be seeing quite so many impolite comments. Although improper punctuation and misspellings are a travesty of modern times, poor manners give all punctuation fanatics a bad image. So much can be conveyed between the lines. Try not to miss the forest for the trees, everyone. Punctuation is a small part of communication, and communication is crippled by poor attitudes and rude remarks. If you think that words are just words, and that their impact stops there, consider the following poem by Williams Carlos Williams:
so much depends
the red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
In case you were wondering, that was the original format of that poem. For anyone who thinks that words are nothing more than words, and that the rude remarks hold no more meaning than the letters and commas, think again. Next time, before you set your fingers to type, consider the power of what you write and how it may be perceived by readers. Remember, once you hit "submit," the writer "dies" and the reader is all that remains.
With a B.S. and an M.S. in writing and editing, I know well the temptation to jump on a misspelling or grammatical error. However, to do so is to disrespect that which you are defending: communication.
All of us are reading and writing these emails on company time, correct? Or is it we are all....who cares.
Steve, please tell me you're kidding... "days" does not need an apostrophe. Seriously, that's high school stuff.
I love the fact that there is a day solely dedicated to punctuation! It is truly sad that so many people either don't use it out of laziness or haven't a clue how to. Cindy, this day is for us!
As someone who holds a B.A. in English, me, your punctuation skills are lacking. A comma should separate two parts of a sentence when each part can stand alone. When they cannot, no comma is required. Your sentence should read ".... I both applaud punctuation and bemoan..."
Here's the tricky part about commas: AP Style says NOT to use one after the second to last item in a list, and Chicago Manual says TO use one. So either way you're in trouble with Grammar Nazis. But if we didn't have something to argue about what fun would it be?
Puncshooashun iz awesum!!!?! I like, use; it everidai and stuff!~ Im' soooo glad mah teechers' tawt me so well!! yay!
Wow you guys are tough. Thanks god I wasn't an English major, but an Accountancy major.
I believe Steve means to write "This is the best article I've read in days..." (sans the apostrophe).
Yay for Steve in MKE – more irony! Keep it coming, folks!
Stop the flagrant misuse of apostrophes in plurals and acronyms!
You know what else is EXTRA annoying? When people make comments that have already been made by 6 people before them!! Hello, people, read the thread before you comment!!!
Inefficiency is my next biggest pet peeve.
Mel said: As a person that holds a B.A. in English, I both applaud punctuation, and bemoan the fact that most people that e-mail seem never to have heard of it.
As a person WHO holds a M.A. in English, I am apalled that the professors WHO should have taught you that THAT is for inanimate objects; WHO is for people WHO hold degrees in English. :o)
Happy Punctuation Day!
I love punctuation. I'm a fan of the Oxford comma. And the hyphen is very important to me. My company has recently issued new "writing-style" guidelines. One of their edicts is one to limit use of the hyphen. As I explained to the instructor delineating the new guidelines, "If you ask for a 'red hot momma', you may get a sunburned woman with children who's having hot flashes and not the 'red-hot momma' you were expecting". My favorite book on the subject of punctuation is "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss. And another grammar-type book that I love is "Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog", a hilarious history of diagramming. Thanks for letting me know it's National Punctuation Day. I shall celebrate!
Since we're all being jerky here–it seems to be the norm for the illuminati whenever grammar and punctuation are discussed–I'll point out that Mark's pet peeve is ironic. :-)
This is the best article I've read in day's...kudos to you all who share my love for proper punctuation...!!!
What a great idea! Grammar is my favorite section of English; I wish this day had been publicized more. I will mark my calendar for next year!
***Sorry for all of the backlash, Mel. However, we got your point!
Finally, a day I can truly celebrate!
Hey Mark, it's "peeve." :o)
um sorry mark, but if your pet 'peave' was truly misspelled words...you might have taken a glance and noticed that you should have spelled peeve with a second e not an a. just a thought. =)
Mel, you can lose the comma after the word "punctuation"....... :)
Mel – if you have a degree in English, you would would be a person WHO has a degree in English, not a person THAT has a degree. I don't think THAT you do!
peeve, not peave
(The irony – it burns!)
Poor, Mel! Personally, I rarely honk my horn about my BA in English because that tidbit of information seems to bring out undercover Grammar Nazis.
With that being said, I’m happy for national punctuation day! It could be a little barbaric, but I’d like a few activities (like fireworks on the fourth of July or presents at Christmas) where we flog those who misuse commas: twenty lashes for those who arbitrarily throw commas into their writing and another fifty for those who fail to put a comma behind the second to last item in a list. We can tar and feather high-minded people who randomly capitalize words that only have significance and importance to the writer. We can play pen the tail on the idiot who popularized phonetic writing as a form of communication (i.e. i c u). We can pinch those who are confused about their personal pronouns and who don’t know when to use their, there, they’re. Lastly, on this day, we should ban all software and computer programs (who write sentences in the same manner that they write code) from writing any business communications.
It would be a capital ideal if I were the principle editor for the national punctuation day – I’d correct everything! :)
...and most people WHO email.... Yikes.
THANK YOU ! Now I know that I'm not alone!
Punctuation will be with us as long as we read silently. That is why it was invented, to support the new readership of books in print with the advent of the printing press.
Wow, Jen, you insulted Mel but failed to spell his name right even though it clearly appears next to his entry. Grammar Nazis or not, I think we can all agree that no one is perfect. Thank goodness for editors and proofreaders!
i wonder what e e cumming would have to say about all this
Mark, I think you'd be better to say that your pet peeve is misspelled words.
Here's a good book....."Eats, Shoots and Leaves."
jen.....what a snob you are.....;)
Mark, you're joking, right?
Serial comma users unite! I hate when people list objects, names, places, or other things without correct punctuation.
I had no idea we have a National Punctuation Day. What fun!
I, too, have been cursed with being a spelling and grammar Nazi. It makes me absolutely crazy to see how lazy and ignorant people can be with their writing and speaking. But who's the one to suffer? Me, not them! They couldn't care less!
Destination: HELL. Mode of travel: HAND BASKET.
I mean, seriously.
There is only one L in Mel's name.
Good going, Mark. Only a professional would make such a comment and misspell something so purposefully!
Punctuation. How about apostrophe's? That's my peave.
This is pretty neat! I do think that grammar, spelling, and syntax are all important because language's goal is ulitimately one of clarity. There is plenty of room for stylistic diversity, even within the confines of proper grammar.
f@ck this Sh!t.. Gotta love the punctuations :)
I must confess that the comment regarding poor spelling as a "pet peave" (sic) amused me with its irony. Very cleverly done, Mark!
I'm glad there is a Natioanal Punctuation Day. Maybe people, at least on this one day, will pay attention to how they write their e-mails and review them prior to sending them off into the ether. For me, reading e-mail messages with little or no correct punctuation, is like finger nails on a chalk board!
"My pet peave is misspelled words"
You misspelled "peeve" on purpose, right?
I also hold a bachelor's in English, and I applaud any and all occasions dedicated to correct grammar.
My favorite piece of punctuation is the dash–it stands out!
Mel: You "bemoan the fact that most people that e-mail seem never to have heard of" punctuation; I bemoan the conclusion that you seem to be innocent of the proper usage of "who" versus "that."
ewe mean ta tell me thats i haves ta use them little critters, like points and half moons on every sentence? oh but why? If not for the commas, periods, and whatnots. Glad that we have them.
Dear B.A. Mell,
There should not be a comma before "and bemoan". There is no subject to the second part of the sentence. : ) Maybe you should further your studies and go back for an M.A.
Yes, and why most folks think simple plurals require " 's " is beyond me.
I agree with Mel. But I must extend my despair further to non-email printed material. Too much printed material also suffers from lack of clear thought, which punctuation enhances.
Mel! Burn that B.A. of yours for that comma separating your compound verb!
Viva la Grammar Nazis!
I can't celebrate any punctuation day that does not celebrate serial commas - as this entry clearly does not! :-)
maybe we should have a capitalization day too....
mabee eeven a speling day, two.
If it weren't for punctuation, we would all be "run-ons": I am certain they exist in politcs. But for now, let's assume there are no politics; enjoy the day! Happy National Punctuation Day!
For shame, Mel! Any person holding a degree in English should know that it is, "...a person who holds...", not "...a person that holds..."!
There's good news and bad news here. The good news is that there are omly 365 days in a year. The bad news is wasting one of them on the $$$hi###!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Punctuation, I can take it or leave it. My pet peave is misspelled words.
Especially from professionals!!
Too little too late, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, email and text-messaging have rendered proper punctuation as all but superfluous in today's world... along with spelling and capitalization. Thank goodness I got that degree in English!! I'm a true anomaly now.
what the #%$@?
As a person that holds a B.A. in English, I both applaud punctuation, and bemoan the fact that most people that e-mail seem never to have heard of it. :)
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