Today’s the day writers everywhere celebrate the ! – . , – ; – : and the ?, right? Hopefully, though, as writers even if we don’t consciously celebrate punctuation, we at least practice it correctly. The sad fact is, though that not all writers follow the rules! (What do you think? A bit too much emphasis there?) As a writer, Strunk & White and style guides galore dominate my life. When you longingly thumb through
the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style marveling at the tissue-thin paper bound within that thick tome, hoping upon hope that someone will buy it for you for the next holiday (National Punctuation Day would be a timely holiday, I think), you know your love of words and punctuation may have crossed a line.
Jeff Rubin, founder of all things punctuation, offers up a few ideas on how to celebrate. Here’s a game plan for your celebration of National Punctuation Day®. A few words of caution: Don’t overdo it.
- Sleep late.
- Take a long shower or bath.
- Go out for coffee and a bagel (or two).
- Read a newspaper and circle all of the punctuation errors you find (or think you find, but aren’t sure) with a red pen.
- Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words.
- Stop in those stores to correct the owners.
- If the owners are not there, leave notes.
- Visit a bookstore and purchase a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.
- Look up all the words you circled.
- Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator.
- Go home.
- Sit down.
- Write an error-free letter to a friend.
- Take a nap. It has been a long day.
Your task today is to go forth and spread correct punctuation wherever it’s needed!