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Monday, September 24, 2018

Humorous Punctuation Errors






Today, September 24, is National Punctuation Day. The nuns in my Catholic schools beat us over the heads (sometimes literally) with punctuation rules, grammar, and spelling. Much of it stuck. Because we text and email now doesn’t mean we can throw good punctuation out the window with the typewriter.

Despite the nuns’ training, I don’t always get punctuation right, but I try. I’m sorry to say some authors don’t try too hard. I’ve read many books lately, both indie and from major publishers, with glaring punctuation errors, mostly comma errors. One thing that really bothers me is when there isn’t a comma before a person’s proper name: as in, “Hi Mary.” Correct punctuation is “Hi, Mary.” I’ve been seeing this a lot.

Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. I scoured the internet for examples of how punctuation can change meanings. Here are some humorous ones.

This first one is correct:

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours?

This is what happens to the same statement when it’s not punctuated correctly:

Dear John,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

More examples:

Woman without her man is nothing.
Woman, without her, man is nothing.

Let’s eat Grandpa.
Let’s eat, Grandpa.
All those out there who like to cook and eat my wife made a new blog.
All those out there who like to cook and eat, my wife made a new blog.

Can you figure out where the commas go in this one?
Attention: Toilet only for disabled elderly pregnant children.

This magazine cover with Rachel Ray says it all.



Or this one:


See how a comma can change these two?
Most of the time, travelers worry about their luggage.
Most of the time travelers worry about their luggage.

Are there any punctuation errors that bother you? I’d love to hear them.

I’m happy to announce a new release!!!

Josh’s Salvation (Redemption Book 4) is now available for pre-order exclusively on Amazon.



Suspense. Sizzling. Sultry.

When two federal agents with a heart-shattering history are thrown together on a deadly undercover mission, they must fight to live and to have a future together.

Lia Valdez’s heart was broken when her father, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty. She’d followed his footsteps into law enforcement, only to have her heart shattered again by a fellow Drug Enforcement Agent. Josh Tanner broke through the walls she’d built around her heart, then walked away without explanation. Now she’s rebuilt those walls, stronger than ever.

Josh Tanner joined a clandestine division of the Drug Enforcement Agency hoping to atone for the sins of his rebellious youth. But one horrific night in Mexico crushed his hopes, costing him both the life of his partner and the love of his life.

Forced to work together on a deadly mission to bring down a West Coast drug kingpin, Lia isn’t sure she can trust Josh again. But with her life—and her heart—on the line, she may have no choice. Maybe they can have a future together. But first, they have to survive.

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6 comments:

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Oh my. I like commas. I believe they give readers rest and like in your examples, amplify the meaning. Congratulations on your story!!!

Colleen C. said...

I enjoyed this post... definitely entertaining to read! :)

Karen H said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Brought me back to my English classes in school with sentence structure and the importance of using proper punctuation. It was drilled into our young minds with the efficiency of a Marine D.I. That said, I'm not sure lessons like this are even given in schools today. Makes me wonder what kids learn today when some teachers have posted questions like 'should we continue to teach cursive in school?'. Really? Continue to teach cursive? Kids don't write anymore...they type and with Twitter, the use of punctuation is lost on them. And it's generating bad habits among those of us who learned our lessons in school. It's a real soapbox subject that takes more time to solve than we have left on this earth!

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Vicki, Colleen, and Karen.

Glad you enjoyed the post. I was taught grammar and punctuation by nuns. They were like drill sergeants. I doubt kids are taught as well today. And with texting and Twitter, people have forgotten the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar.

J Jaytanie said...

Great post, Cara! I could hear my editor laughing.

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Joanne!

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