READY: A punctilious punctuator’s pet peeves and peccadilloes

Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 05:17 PM.

In my family and circle of friends, I’m known as the “grammar Nazi.” It takes me 10 minutes to compose a short text, free of abbreviations, spelling errors, punctuation and grammar flaws, and no lol or Idk. Those who respond to my perfect texts with a “K” make me furious.

With such a personality disorder, it follows that I’d be a fan of National Punctuation Day, celebrated on Sept. 24. Founded in 2004 by former newspaperman Jeff Rubin, the 10th annual celebration continues to remind Americans that “a comma is not a state of being” and ventures to ask in 2013, “Has National Punctuation Day made a difference?”

Is there hope for proper punctuation, good grammar, and intelligent, incisive writing among young people and older people who should know better? NPD was founded on hope — if only for one day yearly — that the importance of correct punctuation would be brought to the forefront of people’s minds.

Now, on the 10th NPD, has anything changed? That’s the subject of this year’s NPD contest. In an essay of no more than 250 words, relate how National Punctuation Day has affected the way you think about punctuation and good grammar. Send essays to Jeff Rubin at the NPD website by Oct. 31. Contest winners will be announced in December.

Well, anyway, back to JEFF Rubin. I put his first name in all capitals because in an article a few years ago, I called him Peter for some strange reason. He let me know of my error in a flawless and gracious email message which also thanked me for caring about grammar and punctuation.

Rubin says that deteriorating communication skills are evident in magazines, books, retail store signs, and even in newspapers. With our local newspapers going all Facebook on us, vicious posters online have had a field day criticizing the grammar, punctuation, and subject matter in the columns of certain reporters.   

Rubin’s complaints are the same ones I battled for years as an English teacher. It makes me crazy to see a simple plural formed with an apostrophe. It’s “several apples,” NOT “several apple’s.” I’m also annoyed by people using more than one exclamation point, as if everything they say is truly exciting. It doesn’t take a genius to remember that “it’s” is a contraction, and “its” means “belonging to it.” Also, it’s “one week’s pay” and “two weeks’ pay.” And a “perfect circle” is redundant.

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