September 25, 2010

I think I just had an apostrophe!

Yesterday I saw a small blip on someone's Facebook status announcing National Punctuation Day. I thought it was one of those made up things to emphasize someone's sarcasm about the lack of appropriate language skills we have come to in 2010. But no, it is a real day of recognition, not a holiday, but a remembrance of the language skills we all used to be taught and loathed. 

Punctuation can be difficult in these internet and messaging driven days, where not using end marks or capital letters or even correct spelling is common and accepted by some. But it is important to someone who wants to write well or who wants to appear to be somewhat intelligent or professional. It is very important. It can be life saving in some cases. Just think about the ramifications: 

"Let's eat, Grandma!" becomes "Let's eat Grandma!"

*shudder* I think you see what I mean.

I wrote a post once using the metaphor of a comma to show how my life felt after our first child left the nest. As I just looked back over that post, I actually got the graphic for that post from the National Punctuation Day sight! The original post was 5 years ago. I am so forgetful! Anyway, I love using good punctuation as a way to get my thoughts across to the reader, whether it is in editing or as a metaphor to make a point. 

Personally, I do love apostrophes, commas, exclamation marks and quotation marks, but my favorite of all (do to my explainage tendencies) is the parentheses. This, even though I use the ellipsis  more often. (I had to look up what they were called and found out I really should not use them the way I do...drat!) Although they are correctly used as a way of letting the reader know that words have been left out of a quote, I have been using them in that modern, electronic messaging sort of way, as explained by Wikipedia:
The ellipsis is one of the favorite constructions of internet chat rooms, and has evolved over the past ten years into a staple of text-messaging. Though an ellipsis is technically complete with three periods (...), its rise in popularity as a "trailing-off" or "silence" indicator, particularly in mid-20th century comic strip and comic book prose writing, has led to expanded uses online. It has been used in new ways online, sometimes at the end of a message "to signal that the rest of the message is forthcoming."

Even though Wikipedia is not a really reliable source of factual information,  it is definitely a good source for modern cultural reference. And today, it saved my pride by giving respect to the modern manipulation of our language.  It is a cultural phenomenon I guess. 

What do you think? Does the modern manipulation of punctuation, spelling and grammar bother you or is it an accepted part of your culture?


joannmski said...

"Let's eat, Grandma!" becomes "Let's eat Grandma!"


I am happy when people actually use punctuation. "Dont" etc. not so good.

Jodi said...

The punctuation error that bothers me most is using apostrophe s when making something plural. It's just s, people. Apostrophe s is for showing possession in most cases. I have even seen this done incorrectly on professionally printed materials, ads and signs. And don't get me started on there, their and they're....