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09/14/2011

Prepare your pet peeves. Punctuation Day is fast approaching


I know a guy — well educated person — who doesn't like periods. He can write a 200-word paragraph without using a single one, until the end. Instead, he pauses long, long sentences with multiple semicolons and commas. Drives me crazy.

He could benefit from a little remedial training on sentence structure. Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style," might be a good start. 

National Punctuation Day for the last seven years has been celebrated on Sept. 24. That is, if you can actually "celebrate" a day dedicated to proper punctuation in an era when a lot of people under the age of 30 have a difficult time writing a complete sentence without straying from using actual words :)

Anyway, send me your biggest punctuation pet peeves and I'll include them in a blog post and/or column a week from Saturday.

 

Comments

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For me, it's the constant abuse of the poor apostrophy:

theirs vs. there's
it's vs. its
The Sellnow's vs. The Sellnows

Maybe it's because English is my second language that I notice these things more. One of my friends is an English teacher and can't stand it when I correct her - heh.

Likewise on the apostrophe comment's. More specifically, the misuse of an apostrophe for plural's. sheesh.

Oh, and I guess there's a problem with people misspelling "apostrophe"...:)

Thanks, Booty (if I would have been unsure, I would have looked it up before posting, but thanks for letting me know).

My pet peeve is when people end a sentence with an emoticon instead of a period, as in the end of your third paragraph :)

Interestingly, or not interestingly, September 25 was always "Pet Peeve Day" on IBM's ancient NITPICK forum. The forum was a place for IBMers to pick nits with "grammar, punctuation, spelling or usage". The rules were you could only pick nits with official IBM publications and announcements. On Pet Peeve Day, the forum was open for freely venting about a peeve.

I've read Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" six times now, and my take on it remains the same: it's a self-important work of navel-gazing, contradictory twaddle. Give me AP Style and a gift for turning a clever phrase, like James Lileks, any day.

I agree with Stephan J., especially in reference to PB commentators omitting apostrophe's in contractions; or--more likely--not realizing When to use a contraction vs. an adjective; e.g. "your" vs. "you're."

I do however recognize that the "free-for-All" nature & stream-of-consciousness" uses of the web, and webblogs, is for many linguistically liberating; and (for better or worse) will probably change English over time.

Also, [in a different place in these cyber spaces] when I tried to gently correct some of my fellow posting citizens on this point, I was of course verbally assaulted by one of the offenders.

Frank, here's why people don't care for being corrected: mistakes happen.

To prove the point, I see the following in your post:
- the word When is incorrectly capitalized
- there is either a missing or extraneous quotation mark (") in the second paragraph
- "weblog" is spelled incorrectly

One man's gentle correction is another man's verbal assault. Just sayin'.

Stephan, I'd like to think your apostrophe belongs in an apothecary, thus the alternative spelling.

It should not drive you crazy, I know how you feel. It is not the same, but I know someone who drives me crazy. It does bug me, but I deal with it because she is a good friend. Thanks for the article.

My punctuation pet peeve is when people us an appostrophe to make a word a plural. Both my first and last names end is s. Instead of added an es to make them plural, people just use an appostrophe.

Here's an example of my biggest pet peeve: A local business has advertising on its truck that reads "Your going to love what we've got". COME ON--someone should have caught that before it was painted on a truck for the whole world to see!

My pet peeve is putting the punctuation mark outside the quotation marks, as in this opportunity is "exciting". Of course, it should be, "exciting." I'm not aware of any exception to the rule that says punctuation marks should always go inside the quotation marks.

The problem with punctuation is there are a million rules and who can keep them all straight, all the time? We try...
AP stylebook says, "period and comma always go within the quotation marks," but "the dash, the semicolon, the question mark and the exclamation point go within the quotation marks when they apply to the quoted matter only. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence."

I would have looked it up before posting, but thanks for letting me know...I'm not aware of any exception to the rule that says punctuation marks should always go inside the quotation marks.

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