Would you like a comma with that?
I have heard it described as a traffic cop. Another writer compared it to throwing a drowning person a lifeline. However, the analogy I like the most is that of being a courteous host.
To what do I refer, you ask? Why, proper punctuation.
How is using correct punctuation like being a courteous host? For one thing, our readers are guests to our writing, just a certainly as if we were having them over for a quiet dinner and drink. When we have guests over, being good hosts, we make sure they are comfortable, have what they need, and are entertained as appropriate.
The same things are true when we invite readers to our writing. We want to make sure they are comfortable, cared for, and entertained during their visit. Well, perhaps the purpose of our writing is something other than entertainment. Yet, whatever its purpose, we want our writing to be successful, to accomplish its purpose.
Using correct punctuation helps us, in writing, to be courteous hosts. Writing with poor punctuation, on the other hand, tells our readers that we are unconcerned with their visit and their time.
Now in saying all that, am I suggesting that if one of us was to botch the placement of an apostrophe or sprinkle a few too many commas around that our otherwise compelling rambling would not be worth a plugged nickel? In short, no. I am not saying that.
Yet, the courteous writer will take care, to the extent they are able, to do right by their readers. Perhaps an example will server to illustrate. The following came on a postcard advertisement in the mail today:
My first time reading this, I stumbled straight past the second line and onto the third before I realized that I had missed—or, rather, that the writer had missed—the period after “MALL”.
I suppose, when weighed against other issues, a missing period is not that big a deal. It isn’t. Still, on the scale of a mass-mailed postcard sale announcement, I feel the company should have done me and all the other recipients the courtesy of correct punctuation.
Archive for December 2006
They’re so cute.
Maayan tagged me.
- Where were you 1 hour ago?
Probably just getting in from the Kingdom Hall—We had our book study tonight, followed by “goodie night,” where everyone stays for a while afterwards to nibble and chat.
- Who will be your next kiss?
Lydia, then Lydia some more.
- Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
Not that I can see. Then, the room is kind of dark.
- When is the last time you went to the mall?
A few weeks ago to buy a winter coat. I love shopping malls.
- Are you wearing socks right now?
- When was the last time you went out of town?
Thanksgiving Day weekend. Trip to the in-laws in upstate New York.
- Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
- What was the last thing you had to drink?
Dite Rite cola. Just finished it.
- What are you wearing right now?
T-shirt, track pants.
- Have you been in a car wash?
Yes, but almost always with a car.
- Last food you ate?
Goodies at “goodie night” (see 1.)
- Where were you last week on Saturday?
Upstate New York (see 6.)
- Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
- When was the last time you ran?
I can’t remember that far back.
- What’s the last sporting event you watched?
Live: A Pirates’ Game (Baseball). They lose, but the games are fun to be at.
Television: A Steelers’ Game (and I don’t have to tell you that’s American Football.)
- What was (were) your favorite subject(s) in school?
Lunch and skipping. But, when I was forced into it, I enjoyed (and did well in) Physics and Math.
- Your dream vacation?
Anywhere with Lydia.
- Last 3 people’s houses you were in?
Lydia’s parents; Lydia’s brother; and… can’t remember.
- How old are your parents?
I don’t know.
- Do you miss anyone?
- Last play you saw?
A musical: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Heinz Hall.
- What are your plans for today?
Write this, then bed. (It’s night.)
- Last person who commented on your blog?
Let’s see… Diane m
- Ever go to camp?
Yes. Then I got a job and could afford a hotel room.
- Were you an honor roll student in school?
- What do you want to know about the future?
Nothing. I want to experience it as it unfolds.
- Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
- Where is your best friend located?
I live with her.
- Do you have a tan?
I am as tanned as a bleached sheet.
- How old do you want to be when you have kids?
Let’s see… Abraham was 84… so, sometime before that.
- Do you collect anything?
On purpose? No.
- Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
A few years ago for not having my license renewal sticker, which I had renewed, but it had been stolen. (I know; I should be on the FBI’s most wanted.)
- Have you ever drunk your soda from a straw?
- How do you like your drinks?
Liquid. In a cup, glass, or mug.
- Do you like hot sauce?
Yes, but it doesn’t like me… not one little bit.
- Last time you took a shower?
I’m taking one as I type this…
(Had you going, maybe?) Actually, I had a shower this morning.
- Who do you have a crush on?
- What is your mood?
- Are you someone’s best friend?
Possibly. You’ll have to ask them.
- Are you rich?
In some ways, very.
Now, I’m supposed to tag some other folks…
Hmmm… I know. Tag yourself, if you want to play. How’s that?