A Humorous Look at The Importance of Punctuation

Punctuation is importantPunctuation is not really that important, right?  WRONG!  It’s very important, and a tiny, misplaced comma or question mark can cost millions of dollars or break someone’s heart. That’s why using native English proofreading services before publishing your work is so important.

Not convinced?

Take a look at some of these great examples of punctuation mistakes.  If you didn’t previously recognize the importance of punctuation, you will after seeing these!

1)  Dear John Punctuation

The Dear John punctuation example is a very commonly used story about a man who received a beautiful letter from his loved one. In the letter, his girlfriend spelled out, in no uncertain terms, how much she loved and adored John and it was clear to anyone reading her words that she couldn’t live without him.  Or could she?

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours?

Jane

What happens to the letter if there were some punctuation mistakes and it was punctuated in an entirely different fashion?

Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,

Jane

Which letter do you think John would prefer to receive?

2) Woman Without Man

A professor wrote the following sentence on the board and asked his class to punctuate it:

Woman without her man is nothing.

Half of the class punctuated the sentence in the following way:

Woman: without her, man is nothing.

The other half of the class responded with the following:

Woman, without her man, is nothing.

It’s clear, from this example, that punctuation is very important indeed!

3) Who’s Supplying Who?

Say ‘NO’ to Drugs from the NMB Police D.A.R.E Officers.

Oops! That one missing comma turned police officers into drug dealers.

4)  Your Grandpa’s Life Depends Upon It

Missing comma changes Grandpa's life

5)  His Wife’s Life Depends Upon It

Example of punctuation error on Twitter

So now you should fully understand the importance of punctuation.  If you think you could benefit from learning more about punctuation, please see our free punctuation guides.

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25 thoughts on “A Humorous Look at The Importance of Punctuation”

  1. Absolutely true. I am an English to French translator and I can tell you that sometimes, texts are so badly punctuated that you do not know what the original writer means!

    Look at the big lack of punctuation at the end of this sentence meant to be translated for a High official in a government. If I had translated as it is written this would be catastrophic as this would mean nothing!

    “This session is designed for government,
    private sector and civil society leaders interested in how to effectively
    mainstream entrepreneurship into national education curricula from the initial
    stage of lobbying governments to writing policy to designing the final
    curriculum to be integrated to continuous assessment at each stage of the
    process.”

    of course commas are missing:

    “…national education curricula from the initial
    stage of lobbying governments (comma) to writing policy (comma) to designing the final
    curriculum to be integrated (comma) to continuous assessment at each stage of the
    process.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Writing Wednesday: 10 Extreme Cases of Costly Missing Punctuation | Endpaper: The Paperblanks Blog

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