Fighting for Punctuation

When normal people are having knock-down, drag-out arguments about politics and religion, here at Gemstone Media we’re shouting over punctuation. Okay, maybe we’re not absolutely shouting, but we explain our reasoning on punctuation choices quite firmly. Some of us use sweeping hand gestures. It is NOT a pretty sight.

Fighting over punctuation is a good thing, because punctuation is important, as everyone knows from the uncredited Pinterest/Facebook post about dietary choices and familial relatives.

Punctuation Saves LivesIt’s okay to be passionate about punctuation—as long as you back up the strong emotions with solid technique. Remember The Karate Kid? He had to spend time practicing “wax on, wax off” (or “pick up the hoodie” if you’re under 30) until he was so comfortable with the skills that that he could do them without thinking.

So, how do you learn about punctuation? You read, silly! Most of us have this I-know-it’s-right-but-I-can’t-tell-you-why feeling about punctuation that we’ve gotten from reading books since The Cat in the Hat. (High school English classes probably helped, too, but not always.)

But there’s more. There’s a fabulous book on punctuation that is one of my favorite books. Not just one of my favorite books about punctuation, but favorite books, period. It’s more fun than anything they made you read in high school English. It’s the book you’ve been waiting your whole, entire life to read, because it changes punctuation from this thing you have to do to get by, like laundry, into this thing that gives you a warm glow of achievement, like running a 10K. Only there’s no sweating or oxygen deprivation involved, so it’s actually better than running a 10K.

Ready? This magic book is called Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. Buy it. Borrow it. Grab it at the library. Whatever works.

Seriously, it’s a great book. Check it out. Then tell me what you think, because I love to hear people rave about great writing and her delicious British writer-voice. Also, then we can argue about serial commas. I’ll bring the sweeping hand gestures.

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