You, as Punctuation Mark

Standing in front of class today, teaching the importance of using correction punctuation, I used the examples you’ve seen often. There is a big difference between:

Let’s eat John.

and

Let’s eat, John.

Or my favorite, from Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss:

Woman without her man, is nothing.

is a lot different than

Woman: without her, man is nothing.

As I turned around I saw how different people in class were, and it occurred to me that these learners were also personality punctuation marks –the excited Punctuation-717548exclamation mark character who loved everything new; the cautious parenthesis character who couched everything with side comments and explanations; the direct, straight-forward speak and stop character. She’s clearly the period person. There was the balanced semi-colon person, who made sure that both sides of her statements were balanced and complete; and the one who ended every sentence by drifting off–yep, an ellipsis.

I had a flash that this “personality type” would make a great quiz. And then I thought, it could be extended to parts of speech too. A “verb” person would be active and a “noun” person would be focused on people, places and things.

I think there is a journaling class in here someplace. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, what punctuation mark are you?

-Quinn McDonald knows that everything is connected.

 

 

 

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37 responses to “You, as Punctuation Mark

  1. I tried logging in to WP in order to have a face but it seems not to be working.
    Being the cautious parenthesis that I am I had saved my comment, just in case.
    I am not, but I feel like an exclamation mark today. :D I always do at the beginning of a project and I have two launching today.
    I am a cautious parenthesis for sure.
    And here is a genuine, loving :) <– not passive agressive in the least.

  2. I am not, but I feel like an exclamation mark today. :D I always do at the beginning of a project and I have two launching today.
    I am a cautious parenthesis for sure.
    And here is a genuine, loving :) <– not passive agressive in the least.

  3. I’m aware that I use the ellipsis a lot however rarely do I use it correctly, if fact my punctuation and grammar might often be incorrect. While I feel a burning desire to climb up and correct signs when the apostrophe is missing or misplaced and laughed like a drain at the Massive Laptop Sale sign, surely no-one wants a massive laptop, I don’t care too much about my everyday punctuation . . . as long as you understand me. If I were ever to write a book though, I’d like the surface features of my writing to be correct in order that they wouldn’t detract from the message.

    That sounds so serious . . . should I put a smiley face? I would NEVER put lol . . . it’s just not me.

  4. Quinn — You might enjoy reading James Pennebaker’s book, The Secret Life of Pronouns! (Hmm…I can’t find a way to underline or Italicize the title!)

  5. Beware Truss: She makes errors in her example sentences–a serious training no-no. The comma before the verb in this sentence is NOT correct, and it’s not a candidate for being a discretionary comma, either: “Woman without her man, is nothing.”

  6. Before I answer, am I limited to punctuation marks in English? ‘Cause I think either a mathematical or programming-language operator == a better fit. :-)

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