Today is the day to celebrate commas, semicolons, em dashes, ellipses and all those other little marks whose proper use continues to give most of us headaches.
Do I hear some of you mumbling, “Why do we need a National Punctuation Day?”
I think the following example, thanks to basicjokes.com, will demonstrate how much we take these little characters for granted and how important they truly are.
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours?
Move the punctuation a tad and you have…
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
So now that you understand the need to celebrate, you are probably wondering how. Jeff Rubin, on his aptly named site, National Punctuation Day, has come to the rescue. According to him, the following are the appropriate activities for this momentous occasion:
Take a long shower or bath.
Go out for coffee and a bagel (or two).
Read a newspaper and circle all of the punctuation errors you find (or think you find, but aren’t sure) with a red pen.
Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words.
Stop in those stores to correct the owners.
If the owners are not there, leave notes.
Visit a bookstore and purchase a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.
Look up all the words you circled.
Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator.
Write an error-free letter to a friend.
Take a nap. It has been a long day.
Be sure to visit his site for more information on this day and to buy punctuation gifts for your loved ones.
If you’re still are not sure we need a special day set aside to honor punctuation, I’ll leave you with one more case in point from a post on wayodd.com.
“For example, Truss publishes an item on a restaurant menu gone wrong. What was supposed to be "Goat Cheese Salad ... tomato, onions, goat cheese" turned into something else entirely with a couple of extra s's and an erroneous additional comma: "Goats Cheese Salad ... tomatoes, onions, goats, cheese."
Best wishes for a happy National Punctuation Day. Thanks for stopping by.