MY TOP 5 FAVORITE FORMS OF PUNCTUATION IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (and my one least favorite)
(I know, it's so nerdy, right?)
5. The Period. Sure, periods are not all that exciting, but they have a purpose, and if you fail to use them, you risk confusing your reader with an overly-long and complex run-on sentence, like this one. Enough said.
4. The Question Mark. Por que? I don't know. Why do you ask? Wouldn't you like to use an upside down question mark like in Spanish? Doesn't it seem sensible to indicate at the beginning of the sentence that the words to follow are meant to form a question? Still, even in English, don't you think this is a useful piece of punctuation? At the least, don't you enjoy being able to employ the traditional "questioning head tilt" when asking or reading a question?
3. The Exclamation Point. Yay! I love exclamation points! The only problem is that exclamation points are meant to be used sparingly, but in this internet-based world, where tone, intent and sarcasm frequently fall prey to the dangers of being reduced to text, the exclamation point is becoming to punctuation what the word "like" is to pre-pubescent vocabulary. And, let's face, it, I am personally guilty of exclamation-point-overuse, too! Oh well!!!
2. The Em Dash. More formal than parentheses, less formal than off-setting commas, the em dash is the perfect--albeit underused--piece of punctuation. Unfortunately, blogger won't let me type an em dash--a dash the width of an 'm'--but you should note that an em dash is different than an en dash which is different than a hyphen. Have you em dashed today?
1. Parentheses. If you have spent any amount of time reading this blog (and if you haven't, why haven't you?), you know that I LOVE to use parentheses. Just like when I am talking, I frequently find the need to pause mid-sentence to interject a bit of information which, if left to later, might become forgotten or seem random. I would say (per an unofficial estimate) that I use parentheses at least once in every blog post and at least twice in ever Tuesday's Top 5 (but at least 6 times in this post).
And finally, as a special addition to this week's list, my LEAST favorite form of punctuation is the semi-colon. Why? Because despite diligent study, repeated application, and the aforementioned Editor-of-the-Year award, I still cannot manage to use semi-colons correctly 100% of the time. I'm not even going to attempt it in this post. Instead, I will wish you a Happy Tuesday and remind you to enter the Share the Love contest. And, if you live in Illinois, don't get eaten by a blizzard.
p.s. Please note that, while an apostrophe is pictured below, it was replaced in the final hour by that work horse of the English language, the period. My apologies to the period for its omission from the visual aide.