Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Punctuation; It's important!

I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled program to inform you that
1. My brain was just turned to mush by the brilliance that is John Green.
2. I'm sick of the snow.
3. Much of a sentence's meaning is dependent upon punctuation.

I don't really want to go into a deep post in response to John Green's, but just know that some of his topics blow me away and put me into a zombie-like state wherein I'm completely non-responsive to my surroundings. His blog can be found here. Go become a deep-thinking zombie.

On a completely unrelated note, It snowed today. It's April, for crying outloud!

Dear Weather,
Please limit yourself for at least the next sixth months to light rainfall, thunderstorms, sunshine, partly cloudy with a light breeze, and fair. This is non-negotiable. Your full cooperation would be very much appreciated by many people, including myself. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way.
Hoping you are well,
P.S. You don't even want to know what the hard way is.

Moving on from the weather to the truly important matters in life, let's talk about punctuation really quickly, shall we? I'm an English nerd. I adore learning about punctuation and grammar: all that technical crap that makes most students hate the English language and learning more about it. To me, English is an intricate dance between our thoughts, our words, and the symbols that some person scribbled onto primitive parchment, declaring, "These are letters!" But I'll stop myself before I start boring you with my geeky fascination with the written word--my purpose here, of course, is to bore you with my geeky fascination with punctuation which supplements the written word.

As an English tutor, I'm frequently lambasted by punctuation crises. Seldom do I read over a university student's paper and find myself completely satisfied with the way it has been punctuated. Today I found a particularly humorous situation that I would like to share with you:

I was reading over a paper submitted to me through my writing center's online tutoring program when I spotted this sentence: "Students will be mailed along with their test results positive incentives." I believe what the writer was trying to say here was that test results and positive incentives would be sent through the mail to the students; however, she has neglected some very crucial punctuation, causing this sentence to sound as though the students would, in fact, be physically stuffed into the envelopes and placed in very large and accommodating P.O. Boxes. Chortle. All that is needed to clarify the meaning here are two strategically placed commas so that the sentence reads, "Students will be mailed, along with their test results, positive incentives." We'll ignore the fact that this sentence would be made better still if worded, "Along with test results, students will be sent positive incentives."

And so we see that punctuation really IS important; all those dusty English teachers really weren't lying to us.

In conclusion, I'd just like to add that I will be mailed along with birthday presents chocolate cake.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
ramshackle (adj.): loose and rickety; likely to fall to pieces


  1. Ramshackle. Good word. Also, I too enjoy the intricacies of the English language and wish other people would take the time to cherish it. I'm glad you feel this way, too. Punctuation is important!,.;?'"

  2. what is this punctuation you speak of I have not heard of it before it useful to understand what I am saying :-p j/k Hmm, so who are you being mailed to along with chocolate cake and presents? Just don't eat the cake before you get there, haha.

  3. the wonderful thing about being a nerdfighter is that punctuation DOESN'T bore us... in fact most of us share with you the same geeky fascination with the devices that supplement the written word.

    So google chrome doesn't like the word 'nerdfighter'... Underline it in RED, will you?... funnily enough, google without a capital G is underlined in red too... :P

    And i agree. John just has this way of turning our brains to mush with his incredible un-containable amount of awesome. Gets me every time too...

    DFTBA!! <3

    captchacode: untyi: n. the opposite of tyi... sorry it was the best i could come up with.