I loved this sensible take on why those pesky bits of punctuation matter so much:
I have tried writing without commas just for fun; it doesn’t work out very well. :)
September 24th is National Punctuation day here in the, U.S, which seems to bring punctuation aficionados out from the woodwork; and I tend to jump in and have a good time as well. Over the years I have been chastised for my comma usage, either the lack thereof, or way too many. More years ago than I care to remember, I had a college professor that was death on punctuation, however she gave us an assignment to write a short paper on whatever topic we chose; and to throw out all the rules and write the way we would tell a story out loud. In other words, write the way we talk. Since there was no right, or wrong way to complete the assignment, the entire class, including myself received a passing grade. Right or wrong, I have pretty much written to the beat of my own drummer ever since. Punctuations and commas are a necessity, however when I want to drive a point across, I do what I feel best accomplishes that task.
Hello, and welcome to WW (I see you have just joined).
That's a very interesting story.
I'm not sure (because I'm English) what this means -
a college professor that was death on punctuation
- did your professor think that it didn't matter, and that you should write in the way you felt comfortable, or was your professor very keen on sticking to the rules? I've never heard that expression before.
What is worse, there's a difference between American and English punctuation. I'm certain that 'Mr. and Mrs.' was the way I was taught back in Sydney, yet some years ago, I was corrected on a similar site to this. 'It should be Mr and Mrs- we only use '.' when it's an abbreviation.'
I wrote back saying 'but they are abbreviations - Mr. is short for Mister and Mrs. is short for Mistress'. I won't say that I was asked to leave the site but I do recall never being able to log on again. I can only assume that married women feel uncomfortable being called Mistress.
Spelling and punctuation in Australia has always been a melange of British English and American English, newspapers using American even in the sixties.
Is it any wonder that when it comes to punctuation, this little marsupial struggles every single day?
that's interesting - my Korean publisher requests American punctuation (extra commas where we wouldn't have them, for example) and they chose to have the dot after Mr. and Mrs. because, as you say, it is an abbreviation just the same as Dr is (but I've never seen a dot after Dr, I have to say).
And then there's the speech mark differences between US/UK/Aus and other countries... in UK, a single quote mark is right for speech.
Thanks so much for that Anna. Yet another complication for my little brain to cope with. Sigh.
Edited by TassieDevil at 17:56:00 on 08 October 2014
I love all the comments. Yes, there is a big difference in US and British punctuation, as well as spelling, and this is where as a youngster it was extremely difficult for me. Although I was born in the United States, it was by accident, I was supposed to be born in Wales, however, while me, mum :) was in the US I decided to show up a month early, two days before she was to leave and return to Wales. Being schooled in Wales, then returning to the States was not only a cultural shock, they didn’t speak the same language, and they surly didn’t write the same way. I flunked a lot of papers because of my English; it took a few years, and several extra English classes to get it all figured out. They also had no idea what a boot and a bonnet was.
As far as, Australian English goes, I don’t know if any of you are familiar with, Mark Lingane, Mark is an Australian writer, and you can find a lot of his books on Kindle. At first reading his work is at best, interesting, terms, spelling, and punctuations do make for an interesting read.
There is a move on right now to remove the comma before a proper noun, more especially, before a name. I would love to hear more comments on this one.
Anyhow, thanks for the welcome, and I hope to be able to contribute to WW.
Edited by J Francis at 18:17:00 on 08 October 2014
Edited by J Francis at 18:19:00 on 08 October 2014