Happy National Punctuation Day 2014!


September 24 is National Punctuation Day, the special day of the year for people who can’t stand the improper use of punctuation marks. To put it more positively, it is the day when we celebrate the correct use of punctuation marks. This day was “invented” by Jeff Rubin back in 2004, and he “encourages appreciators of correct punctuation and spelling to send in pictures of errors spotted in everyday life.” With that in mind, here’s a photo which is perfect for this day. Source Don’t you just feel for the comma? He has to see a therapist for all the [Read more…]

Quotation Marks and Other Punctuation Marks

Punctuation marks

The debate on how to use quotation marks has been raging for a very long time, probably just as long as any other grammar issue. Perhaps one of the main things that bother people is how quotation marks are used unnecessarily. There is another issue about quotation marks that often come up: how they are used in tandem with other punctuation marks. Commas and periods Commas and periods – we’ve all used them in our sentences. We know where to put them. But what if there are quotation marks? Where do we put the period or comma? Inside? I had [Read more…]

A Quick Look at the Serial Comma


The comma has always been a bone of contention for many people.  We all use it everyday that we may very well be taking it for granted.  Over the holidays, I found myself in the middle of a very interesting discussion about the use of the serial comma. The serial comma is also called the Oxford comma or the Harvard comma. Sometimes, it is even referred to as the series comma. Whatever name you call it, the serial comma is used in lists – right before the coordinating conjunction. Let’s take a look at an example for the sake of [Read more…]

And I Quote…


We all have our pet peeves when it comes to writing, and I think that some of you will agree that the prevalent habit of misusing – or overusing – quotations marks is of those things.  To be honest, this does not bother me as much as interchanging your and you’re.  However, the discovery of a blog focusing on the unnecessary use of quotation marks has led me to write about the issue. Before I bombard you with some rules on the use of quotation marks, let me add a little bit of fun to your Monday by sharing how [Read more…]

More Funny Signs that Could Use Better Grammar/Spelling


It’s been more than a month since I posted the first group of funny (or not-so-funny for some) signs on FWJ. When I woke up this morning, I thought that it would be a good idea to post some more signs for the grammar section. After all, it is a Monday, and we can all use some cheering up on this day of the week. First up comes lots of lot’s. Photo courtesy of Steve Dinn We can’t point fingers at Sony here, but the sign sure does take something away from the message, doesn’t it? Just so we’re all [Read more…]

It’s National Punctuation Day!


It’s not yet too late to celebrate one of the most important days of the year: National Punctuation Day!    I am not making this up, although my love for quirky holidays is well known.  You can check the official web site for the holiday to confirm that this is for real. With the tag line “A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis,” National Punctuation Day is a great excuse to party tonight.  If it’s too late for you to organize something, you can always do [Read more…]

What’s the Apostrophe Doing There?


The apostrophe is an innocuous-looking thing, but it does have the power to screw things up – just like the comma.  I don’t know about you, but I feel so uncomfortable when I see signs and other written material that look like the following. Photo credit: Jeffrey Hill Photo credit: Quezi So what’s wrong with the images? While not everyone has the same issues with apostrophes, we cannot deny that there are a lot of people who struggle with the use of this squiggly punctuation mark.  I know some people who are reasonably good writers but still sometimes put an [Read more…]

When Punctuation and Law Collide

As freelance writers, we are all very much aware of the importance of grammar and punctuation. We know that all sorts of confusion can arise from improper usage. Sometimes it can be quite hilarious. Check out this incident I read about at The Spokesman-Review: A little punctuation can make a lot of difference. When Bob Strick and Vicki Tomsha had business at the Spokane County Courthouse on June 2, they drove around from parking lot to parking lot, looking for some free public parking. Lot after lot required a permit or some cash. They thought they hit pay dirt in [Read more…]

Justifying a Comma Splice

In the last post, I talked about a major error in writing – a comma splice. As I mentioned in that post, there are some cases wherein using a comma splice just might be acceptable. In fact, this is in an ongoing debate. So when is a comma splice acceptable? According to Strunk & White, one can use a comma splice “when the clauses are very short and alike in form.” The most commonly cited example for this case is the popular line: I came, I saw, I conquered. Diana Hacker of A Writer’s Reference also gives some examples: Man [Read more…]

What Is a Comma Splice?

There are certain words in the English language that I love to hear and say. “Splice” is one of those words. I don’t know why, but it just sounds so good to my ears. This post, however, is not going to be about words that you like to hear. It is going to be about this thing called comma splice. What is it anyway, and why are some people so gung ho on avoiding it? Consider this: I woke up at 3 in the afternoon, I was not able to go to church. The two clauses – one before the [Read more…]

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