Archives for category: Punctuation

Perhaps it is a sign of my age, and it is a development of language, however, I really can’t see the purpose of the current use of the phrase ‘myself’, instead of the simple use of ‘I’ or ‘me’. If it is a development of language, then it isn’t one that I like.

I often feel that the speaker is trying to distance themselves from whatever they have said or done. A form of making themselves a third person. Which, to be honest, makes me question their motives.

 

I am also finding the phrase ‘at this / that point in time’ extraordinarily irritating. Surely it is obvious that the speaker is referring to a point in time – and it would be better to just state ‘at this point, I…’

 

Lastly and more worryingly, I have noticed a propensity for children’s publishers to ‘double up’ their punctuation. Often using an exclamation mark and a question mark together – a sort of marriage of punctuation.

It has always been clear to me when a question has been asked, whether it needs emphasis or not. Where, if it hadn’t been a question, an exclamation mark might have been used.

There are also instances where a single punctuation mark is duplicated. Which is also unnecessary – and on a basic level untidy.

We are now starting to use punctuation without respect for the language or the reader, and I am finding this colours my enjoyment of books. Particularly those written for younger readers.

It is interesting, I don’t find it happening with quality writing (whether for children, teenagers or adults) – more often it is found in the type of book that I refer to as ‘Candy Floss Reading’. A notation I give to Children’s books that should only be read by a child as often as they eat candy floss in a year. Not often. That is unless, of course, there is some other reason why they are reading them…

I know that Mr Brown would certainly have questioned me should I have started to marry punctuation and he would certainly have put a neat red line through ‘in time’ and further have corrected my use of ‘myself’. I can imagine his red mark and the questions at the bottom of the essay – in his wonderfully clear red handwriting.

After reading this, perhaps, though I don’t really believe it, I, (myself), am a grammar snob. If so, I think I am quite content with that!

Thanks to Charles Schulz for the above cartoon…

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Something I have noticed recently is a tendency for publishers of children’s books to combine punctuation marks.

So far it is limited to their combining the question mark, with an exclamation.

It is as though the editors of these books believe the reader is unable to ascertain that the character is expressing themselves with surprise or not.

I am finding this irritating new strain of ‘punctuation’ more of a distraction than a useful additional indicator for my reading. So much so I am beginning to metaphorically put those books published with this new editing gimmick in my mental bin of ‘Candy Floss’ reading; books for children, that should only be read as often as they have candy floss.

Not very often.

I feel that it is used where the editors are not sure themselves – which is strange, and I have never heard of anyone wondering about whether a character has asked a question with surprise, or have only just exclaimed with a question. The context of the sentence usually indicates which it is.

In my view this is an unnecessary piece of entanglement in a language which seems to confuse people enough when they are asked to punctuate properly – so that they can clearly communicate.

Mr Brown would not have been pleased if I had started to pepper my writing with such a union. I think he would have marked my essay down with an acerbic comment and a neat exclamation point to finish.

I hope it isn’t an indication of worse things to come.

Punctuation is important and shouldn’t be abused.

A woman, without her man is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.