Oct 21, 2008

Punctuation matters. Period.

A recent post on Adbroad noted the lack of enthusiasm, respect, admiration, appreciation or consideration for punctuation. Seussian alliteration aside, the value of a coma, a period, a colon, a question mark, exclamations etc. is something that consistently infuriates me to no end because I know someone was paid to write something and be it a human error or just lack of interest, to me it ends up looking half assed.

Case in point, I can accept a typo in the body copy of an ad granted that it isn’t too massive a fuckup, but in the headline? On a billboard? What the hell is up with that? Honestly, in this age of texting, online jibber jabbing (jibba jabbin if you refer to the Mr. T Dictionary), punctuation, spelling and grammatical coherence have been bastardized to no end. Demoted in importance to humor, creativity, or even logic.

Don’t believe me? Fine. Save your chats from one day, browse through your SMS, or just listen to a 15 year old talk and you’ll see there’s something obviously wrong with the way we communicate.

Granted, Christopher Walken asks for his scripts without punctuation so he can put the pauses wherever the hell he wants to, but he’s… Christopher Walken, son… and you know that no matter the way that you think; his way of thinking, how, to, say… something. Now there’s where; beauty, lies in his style of acting.

But for the layperson, well I think one should really be a lot more careful regarding punctuation, spelling and syntax. Since this post refers mainly to punctuation, lets see some examples where a simple change of punctuation totally makes a difference. An example will be offered regarding written and oral punctuation.

In written communication:

To be or not to be, that is the question.

To be or not to: be that is the question.

In oral communication, meaning say this sentence out loud:

The dill, doe wet on its surface, has a rather tangy taste.

Now take out all the commas. So next time you see a typo and think it doesn’t matter much, think twice.

Oh one more little detail when it comes to commas and points. A comma makes a hell of a lot of difference when it comes to your salary.


Nicole said...

Who says "doe wet"?

Joker said...

No one, but if you happen to say it fast, it sounds like the dildo wet on its surface. And though it's a far fetched example at best, it doesn't sound mid seventeenth century in composition.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Great post, Joker. Excellent example of necessary punctuation: your salary check. ha.

Anonymous said...

As a blogger, it could be considered dangerous for you to point out the failings of others with regard to punctuation and grammar. If you write things like:

"...next time you see a typo and think it doesn’t matter much, think twice."

It will subject your blog content to excessive scrutinization on anything grammatical. You might find that there are errors in your following posts which show that your entries don't meet your own high standards. For example, in your following post 'Death to the Yes Men', you have included the following sentence:

"...always someone else’s fault and that you can never say know."

I guess nobody's perfect.

Claire said...


Joker, feel free to lose faith in grammar and punctuation the world over.

I walk past this stupid sign every day in Glasgow and want to put my foot right through it. It's the WORST example I've seen for ages.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with the other anon. I just read your "Death to the Yes Men" entry and couldn't understand half of it for the punctuation and spelling mistakes.

I know we all make mistakes. But let's try to get it right before dissing everyone else for bad punctuation.

Anonymous said...

Case in point: it's comma, not coma.

Joker said...

Lol, to show I do read all comments, please note I've revised the dismal post regarding Yesmen to make it a tad more legible.

Note to self: Rant when you're not half asleep.

Thanks for the observations and I will try to not suck so much so bashing will be content laden and typo free.


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