If people suggest that makes you a nitpicker, tell them you have nothing on former newspaperman Jeff Rubin, the founder of National Punctuation Day.
Jeff started it as a “celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis.”
Lest you think this is trivial, he points out:
“Casual shortcuts bred by e-mailing and text messaging have no place in school papers or professional business writing. In the business world, words have power and help decision-makers form impressions immediately. Careless punctuation mistakes cost time, money, and productivity.”
“It’s not the worst thing in the world if people don’t know how to properly use an apostrophe, but it does say something about them: that they don’t care to learn.”
Want some practice wielding your commas and your colons? Head over to E-WRITE’s 76 online opportunities to build your punctuation skills.
Meanwhile, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty held a punctuation contest and has been sharing the entries in her newsletter and podcast, including heartfelt odes to:
- the semicolon: “I am in love with your very essence, purpose. / You join two sentences, / Which are independent, and make / Them stronger by bringing them together”
- the ellipsis: “I was putting ellipses where a comma would suffice…ellipses when an em dash would do the trick…ellipses when a yadayadayada would convey the same idea.”
With that, go forth and use it’s in its proper place.