Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Importance of Punctuation

This morning I edited an article that only served to remind me of the importance of punctuation. It can some times be rather annoying to have to re-read a sentence 2-3 times only to realize that I'm not going crazy, it isn't a bad sentence: it only needs a comma or a semicolon or a dash to make everything better, kind of like a band-aid over a paper cut.

I remember in Prose Style two semesters ago, we had a bring in a piece that had all ready been published and edit it, sharing our corrections with the class. I chose a scene from Kerouac's "Maggie Cassidy," which was not nearly as bad as if I had chosen something from "Dharma Bums" or other later writings. My teacher gave me an 'A' on my edits and told me I did well, and then added "but you changed Kerouac's style!" That last blip haunted me for a long time (yes, even in my sleep, because I think about things like grammar and articles and books instead of dreaming--no wonder I wake up so tired!), and bothered me. Was I that type of editor? Was I squelching someone's genius? I was thinking of Kerouac, Joyce...but even they had work outside the realm of spontaneous prose, and to be truly appreciated, you have to be readable. Reading book reviews every day helps one realize the importance of proper punctuation. Not that you can't shake it up once in a while like E.E. Cummings, but there is something to be said about a well-worded, well-punctuated sentence: you don't even notice that you've been reading because it flows well and you are enjoying the work, not getting distracted by what is or is not there.

In closing, punctuation is important and people who don't believe that are usually the lazy ones who don't want to deal with it. Grammar may be boring, but it helps the world go 'round. People are much more likely to hire someone who has excellent grammar and spelling skills (or at least someone who double checks their work before sending it out) than not, and with this tricky economy and job hiring, it's going to come down to the nitty gritty. So don't be hatin' on the punctuation; it just might make or break it for you.

A final shout-out for the Oxford comma: I don't care what AP style says--I like it!! It is very useful in clarifying sentences and should continue to be used, especially in journalism.

My stomach keeps growling and I don't know why. I'm not hungry and yes, I ate breakfast this morning (cereal, mmm). This is going to be a busy day since we have to do two days of work in one (three day weekend coming up!)

Quote of the day:
Zach: for all their search engine prowess, its surprising that Google doesn't know who they are dealing with [him]
(of all my friends, Zach is one of the funniest and quotable :) )

Also, my friend D. from school sent me a random e-mail (it was 3ish in the morning) telling me that he loves to drink and that if I come to CO, he promises to show me a good time. I replied back that he should come to DC instead, and then we'll drink.

Fourth of July weekend: the fourth and final American Studies senior is coming to DC this weekend (the other three are all here), so we're going to Arlington and most likely grabbing a bite to eat somewhere. Somewhere in this weekend, we need to have a DPN meeting in a bar. That would be so classic. What we really need though, is to buy some fireworks...

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! (in advance!)
be safe, don't lose an eye or limb

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