The Importance Of Punctuation

We encounter two kins of grammar cops on the web, the grammar brownshirts who will jump on any minor error and try to claim it invalidates your entire post or comment and proclaim to the world (though sane person actually cares) that single aberrent apostrophe’s(!) in otherwise perfectly punctuated pieces reveal the writer as an ineducable, knuckle dragging oaf.

To those who pick up my trivial errors I usually reply, “Fuck the fucking fuck off,” and then warn them that before they start pontificating about my profanity showing I am inarticulate to bear in mind the line is not only gramatically and syntactically correct, it is a perfect trochaic triameter and therefore qualifies as poetry. That usually shuts ’em right up.

The other kind are the progressives who say that punctuation does not matter and will call writers out for too precise grammar and punctuation which, they claim, makes the writer appear pompous and condescending. These are a weird lot and most of them seem to be left wing schoolteachers.

A few days ago our friends from the neo – fascist left were holding a two minutes hate session to celebrate the removal of Michael Gove MP from his job as Education Secretary. The teaching profession, displaying the kind of groupthink that can only be brought on by a diet of propaganda, propaganda, propaganda, hated Gove with the kind of passion that should be reserved for reunions with long – absent lovers.

Why? Who knows, but maybe it was because Gove looked at the salaries teacher pick up and thought, “Time these CHIMPS* got some work done.”

Or maybe it was just that Gove was trying to reintroduce the idea of learning basic arithmetic and English grammar and comprehension into the curriculum which would mean spending less class time on things like multiculturalism, history of feminism, race awareness and gay rights studies. After all none of those are any use if you can’t read, write or solve simple calculations.

But with an estimated 20% of secondary school leavers officially illiterate and innumerate maybe Gove had a point. As is illustrated by this Tweet from a professional journalist at Associated Press

BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.

See if you can punctuate or rearrange the sentence so it reads the way it is meant to.

*CHIMPS: Completely Hopeless In Most Practical Situations

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2 Responses to “The Importance Of Punctuation”

  1. Athelstan Says:

    That was an unfortunate tweet. It’s fair play to come down on sloppy English when the meaning is lost.

    I was at a gig with a female friend. Someone texted me with “Enjoy love to Rebecca”
    For want of a full stop, eh?

  2. ianrthorpe Says:

    Did you interpret it literally late in the evening? 🙂

    Texting and tweeting are the enemies of punctuation. It doesn’t disable permanently though. The king of shorthand we used on the old mainframe consoles to communicate with operators in remote locations used a v smlr knd of shorthand because message lengths were limited to 128 characters.

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