Lets try not to confuse readers with punctuation marks.
What is it about punctuation marks that trigger numerous bad sentence buildings?
And after that theres the web. Now everyones an author with a blog site and a bunch of social media profiles. Bad grammar and badly positioned punctuation marks have actually become widespread.
E.E. Cummings overlooked most of the guidelines and comprised a few of his own, and now his poetry is studied in universities. Cormac McCarthy didnt utilize quotation marks with the discussion in his unique, and he won a Pulitzer Prize.
To make matters worse, some authors break the guidelines and get away with it while others are chastised for doing (what seems) the very same thing.
You know the sentences Im discussing. Theyve got random commas, missing out on quotation marks, and method a lot of exclamation points.
Typical Mistakes with Punctuation Marks
Typos are something. Not understanding the appropriate method to write a sentence is another thing. But blatantly misusing or losing punctuation marks is just plain negligent.
A lot of commas
Im a huge fan of the serial comma, but lets not get brought away. Commas frequently take place where there is a natural time out, but they should not be used to tell the reader where to pause.
Heres an example of telling readers where to stop briefly, utilizing commas:
Great deals of writers utilize commas, to inform readers where to take a breath and stop briefly, as if the readers cant figure it out, by themselves.
All of us time out in various locations and your writing will feel abnormal and forced if you utilize punctuation marks as if they are musical notations.
Quote marks for emphasis
I have to admit, this is turning into one of my animal peeves: putting words and phrases in quotation marks for focus. Here are some examples:
You know, they just “had” to go fishing last weekend.
Oh, Im sorry. I didnt imply to “rock your boat.”
If you sign up, theyll send you a “complimentary book!”
Writers who abuse quotation marks in this way requirement to have a little more faith in their readers. If you truly need to tell the reader which word( s) get stressed out, then utilize italics.
Quotation marks are for dialogue, estimated product, and sometimes for titles or headings. For some factor, individuals have actually gone insane with quote marks.
This use probably comes from the (informal) practice of using quotation marks to show that something is “so-called.” Heres an example:
That “writer” over there does not seem to have a dictionary.
In this case, quote marks are placed around “writer” to suggest that the individual is a so-called author, but really isnt much of an author at all. These are called scare quotes, and their usage is usually negative and sarcastic. Usage scare estimates with caution; insulting other writers is not going to do anything positive for your credibility.
Too lots of punctuation marks!!!
While this usage is appropriate in casual settings (and truly, what usage isnt acceptable in casual settings?), its a bit much when youre composing at the professional level. Too numerous punctuation marks distract the reader and make the text appearance sloppy. They also render a pushy, in-your-face, or desperate tone. Like I said, in text messages, theyre kinda charming.
Did you hear me??? I wrote a book!!! Let me tell you all about it … Some people are so passionate. Its one thing when my buddy sends out a text to inform me that her kid just said Mama!!! Its another thing completely when a character in a book is really, really, exceptionally excited!!!
When you use three question marks instead of oneRather does the question become deeperConcern And whats up with utilizing more than three dots in an ellipsis?
Theres this thing called an ampersand
& & let me inform you, it was bothersome.
A couple of weeks earlier, I started reading this novel (whose name shall be withheld), & & before I ended up page 2, it struck me that something was wrong with the writing. I scanned the page & & recognized that the author was using ampersands (&& )in place of the word and.
Prose is not signage. Its not a tweet. The ampersand is not a word; its a symbol, and we are not writing in hieroglyphics. We compose in words and sentences. I dont have anything individual against the ampersand. It looks good on signage and it is available in useful on Twitter and in text. It looks cute on trees where two fans have actually sculpted their names:
Taking Creative Liberties.
Keep this in mind: when your text is peppered with additional, unnecessary punctuation marks, its a diversion to readers. Like I said, the book with all the ampersands had me thinking more about what was off about the text than what was occurring in the story (and the story wasnt very intriguing either, which may explain why the author resorted to tricks). For the record, I didnt make it past page thirty of that book, and Ill never ever advise it to anybody.
Aw. How sweet.
Jack & & Kate < 3. Rough Writers. Im sure folks who use these constructions are on the edge of their seats right now, scouring my blog for some little mistake, some location where I used an additional exclamation mark or an ampersand. If authors want to break the guidelines and take a couple of innovative liberties, thats their service, and I hope it works out. Some of my preferred writers have given up the rules (and I like them for it). Im all for breaking the rules, but just if theres a good reason for it. Cormac McCarthy broke the guidelines and got into Oprahs book club. E.E. Cummings broke the guidelines became a renowned American poet. But it actually makes the reading rough when its utilized to change the word and through an entire piece of writing. Why do some authors reap rewards when they break the rules while others simply look like beginners? I personally believe this pertains to the reasoning behind breaking the guidelines. Cormac McCarthys book was written in a minimalist fashion. The characters didnt even have names. And E.E. Cummings wasnt composing prose at all; he was composing poetry, which naturally permits more innovative liberties. Some writers believe they are branding themselves as an author or making their work stick out due to the fact that they dont capitalize the very first word of every sentence, however these are just gimmicks that sidetrack readers from the material. Youre informing readers that your work does not base on its own and you need to turn to ridiculous techniques to make it appear interesting-- or (even worse)-- you couldnt be troubled to learn how to punctuate sentences properly. The guidelines of grammar arent there to keep you in line; they are there to assist you compose prose and verse that readers can navigate with ease. Always keep that in mind, and when you do break the guidelines or utilize unusual punctuation marks and formatting, do so with good reason. Have you seen writers break the guidelines successfully? Have you seen authors break the rules in a way that interfered with your ability to take pleasure in the reading experience? What truly draws is when great writers use these constructions. More than as soon as Ive read prose and poetry that was excellent except for all the unusual punctuation marks and bad grammar. Theres a difference between playing with the rules as an experiment in art or due to the fact that the design of the narrative calls for it and breaking the rules as a method to separate yourself as a distinct author or just because youre some kind of literary rebel. Control those punctuation marks and keep composing! In this case, quote marks are positioned around "author" to suggest that the person is a so-called author, but really isnt much of an author at all. Its one thing when my pal sends a text to inform me that her kid just stated Mama!!! Its another thing totally when a character in a book is actually, extremely, very fired up!!! When you use three question utilize 3 of one, does the question become deeperConcern Too many punctuation marks distract the reader and make the text look sloppy. Im sure folks who utilize these constructions are on the edge of their seats right now, searching my blog for some little mistake, some location where I utilized an additional exclamation mark or an ampersand. Keep this in mind: when your text is peppered with additional, unneeded punctuation marks, its a distraction to readers.