Punctuation prevents kidnapping!

There is a lot of noise being made about punctuation. Do we need it? Is it too hard to learn? Has the digital age made it irrelevant? When you text-message, does putting a full stop after your sentences show your age? (Yes, it does.)

Punctuation is, and always has been, a guide to understanding the written text. It is not too hard to learn. Rocket science is hard - punctuation is not. The digital age has simply allowed punctuation to be used in other ways. (Consider the over-zealous use of exclamation marks when sending something like "I'll see you tomorrow!!!!") The ubiquitous 'Let's eat(,) Grandma' proves that vast differences in meaning may be eliminated with the insertion of a small stroke. There - that just about answers all my questions.

Here's a sign I saw the other day. It is a billboard placed in a prominent position so that the crowds of pedestrians, sports fans and commuters can read it. Little did the advertisers think that their sign could be interpreted as either:

  • All these movies belong to one kid - or is it two? Kid's or kids'? or
  • Your children are unsafe! Lock them in now to prevent dubious people having 'unlimited access' to them.

Advertisers are not known for the patience with grammar, punctuation and so on. They have a message to deliver and they need to get it out there fast! (That is, quickly.) However, I find myself cogitating over how many punctuation marks could be used to change the meaning... I've already forgotten what product they're offering.

If you want to make your message clear, contact me at susan@creativetext.com.au.

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