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By JUNE CASAGRANDE | June 17, 2009
?My advice to writers just starting out? Don?t use semicolons!? Kurt Vonnegut advised in a 2007 speech. ?They are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college.? I was delighted when I came across this quotation recently in ?Armageddon in Retrospect? because, for some time now, I?ve been rabidly anti-semicolon. In fact, when I read this I had just finished a manuscript for a new book that includes a rant against this odd little punctuation mark.
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | October 4, 2006
Are you getting ready? Can you feel the excitement in the air? That's right, it's time to mark your calendar because National Punctuation Day is just 50 weeks away. And be sure to do a better job of marking your calendar than I did. That way you won't find yourself scratching your head and wondering how you missed out on a golden opportunity to write a brilliant and timely column, show off your hard-earned punctuation expertise and feel like Lynne Truss for a day. According to its website, National Punctuation Day on Sept.
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | December 13, 2006
I'm not currently in therapy, but if I were, I think one session might go a little something like this. Me: "All the grammar Nazis are driving me nuts. I can't take it anymore." Therapist: "What grammar Nazis?" Me: "The ones I keep finding on the Internet." Therapist: "How do you keep finding them?" Me: "Well, I'm searching for them. I'm googling terms like 'grammar' and 'peeve' and 'makes me grate my teeth' and 'stick an ice pick in my ear.'" Therapist: "Why would you do that?"
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | May 16, 2007
In American English, periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks. Always. Other punctuation marks follow different rules, as you'll see in a minute. But periods and commas are simple. It's just a style thing — no better or worse than the British style, which has different rules. But unlike most other usage guidelines that are hotly debated, this one has near universal support. The "Associated Press Stylebook," which governs most newspaper writing, and the "Chicago Manual of Style," which governs book writing, agree, along with every other American usage book I've seen: Periods and commas go inside quotation marks.
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | February 7, 2007
Sex. Now that I have your attention I'd like to discuss the fact that this sentence you're reading is not necessarily a run-on sentence because run-on sentences are not simply sentences that run on and on but instead are a specific type of rambling sentence in which punctuation that should be separating two or more independent clauses is omitted as is any conjunction that could otherwise link the two independent — OK. That's enough of that....
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | October 2, 2009
Thursday was National Punctuation Day. It’s a time when punctuation lovers of all stripes set aside their differences and unite in celebration of those little marks that are the fine line shielding us from communication chaos. True, different factions celebrate the holiday differently. Semicolon lovers sport their tightest girdles and spread tea-soaked mayhem in festivities that go on much, much longer than they should. Parentheses partisans plan simple affairs that invariably become over-complicated as they invite too many guests and insert too many ingredients in the dip. Comma lovers’ somber celebrations require them to pause for a moment of silence, or two, or three.
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