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National Punctuation Day is September 24th

abstract:Let's eat, John. (OR) Let's eat John. The first is a request to John about a meal. The second is suggesting that John become the meal. "A misplaced comma can be a big deal!" says Jeff Rubin, the founder of National Punctuation Day®. What a brilliant idea. If you despised all that grammar stuff in school, now is your chance to brush up on punctuation. While your spell check program can hide one bad habit, it only takes a few memorized rules to keep you out of punctuation purgatory. A properly punctuated document can mean the difference between getting your point across, or losing your audience (or client, or job) altogether. Take this one day to celebrate the comma, apply the period, learn when to use a semicolon or a colon, and ensure you know where to put the apostrophe or how use a dash. An ellipsis -- what's that? Check out this website dedicated to punctuation, and purchase a copy of one of these excellent resource books for yourself or someone in need.


September 16, 2007
Jeff Rubin founded National Punctuation Day® to draw attention to the importance of proper punctuation. It’s not just a day for librarians, educators, and parents -- the people entrusted with the teaching and promoting of good writing skills to their students and their children. It’s also a day to remind business people that they are often judged by how they present themselves.

“Successful people have good communication skills, and that includes knowing how to write properly,” Jeff says. “Punctuation counts. A misplaced comma can alter the meaning of a message. I’m stunned at how many executives and CEOs send me articles and correspondence that are poorly written and punctuated.” Jeff continues, “Did they miss a year of school? I read ad copy and see billboards that scream to be corrected. Poor punctuation knows no sociological boundaries -- everyone from high school dropouts to Ph.D.s needs help with punctuation.”

His website has some fun quizzes, examples of signs with punctuation errors, and even a punctuation rap song.

Ask yourself these few questions:

1. What constitutes a complete sentence?
2. When should I use a comma and when should I use a dash?
3. When writing a contraction of the year, where does the apostrophe go? Before the last two digits or after them? Is it '60s or 60's?
4. Does the comma go inside the quote marks or outside the quote marks?
5. When listing more than two items do you use a colon or a semicolon?

If you missed any one of the above, I suggest you proceed to the next section.

Must-Have Reference Books

  • Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Quite possibly one of the most useful, concise manuals on writing -- ever.

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation Lynne Truss will have you LOL with this book. It's been on the bestseller list for ages!

  • Say What You Mean!: A Troubleshooter's Guide to English Style & Usage This book has a handy section on words that are frequently mistaken for words that sound the same but have an entirely different meaning. Like affect and effect, or accept and except, or enquire and inquire. Got you?

  • The Little, Brown Handbook, Ninth Edition This is "The Bible" for university students. Get a copy for your back-to-schooler.


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