Did you know that today, Sept. 24, is National Punctuation Day? According to its very own Web site, the day is “a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semi-colons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis.” I have to give credit to Jeff Rubin, self-titled Punctuation Man and founder of the day who says: “Without punctuation you would not be able to express your feelings in writing not to mention know when to pause or stop or ask a question or yell at someone and without punctuation you would not be able to separate independent clauses and show an example of how a business lost millions because of an errant comma so dont forget the most important punctuation mark $$$ OK so a dollar signs isnt a punctuation mark but its important dont you agree.”
Ha. Smart man that Jeff guy. Seriously. Think about all the written ways in which you communicate with people in your life on a daily basis: text messages, e-mails, instant messaging, letters, scribbled Post-It notes, etc. How often do you stick to the grammar rules you learned in primary school? Sometimes? Once in a great while? Never? Ever stop to think about why that is?
Probably not because, well, we have a lot more problems going on in this world than the lack of punctuation in our everyday, written words. Unfortunately, technology–perhaps our greatest gain this century–is also our biggest downfall, as it “dumbs-down” our friend’s children, maybe even our children (say it ain’t so!) and, ahem, ourselves. In our efforts to speed up our lives, we lose out on quality of life. And that’s not good. Sure, it’s only a period here and a comma there. Some lack of capitalization there; comma splices over that-a-way. And, no, our quality of life isn’t really lessened by our refusal (or inability) to punctuate our written words accurately.
We simply make a heck of a lot more sense when we do.
Happy National Punctuation Day, friends!