Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting My Point Across!

Grammar Slammer!

While I am on a blogging roll, I thought I’d add this to the mix, getting my point across.

When we speak to a person, we have the luxury of eye contact, arm gesturing, head bobbing, smirks, smiles or grins. In the writing world we don’t have that luxury to help us get the point across unless the board has emoticon smileys all over the place as you can express yourself through them. Sometimes people OVER use them which makes me think they’re on a caffeine high of some sort, or just over excited, sitting behind the keyboard itching for human contact.

In the written world of words, like a hand held, real live paper-filled book with words, how is one to get the emotion across to the reader? I’m going to say punctuation. Because we don’t have emoticons in the publishing world, are you going to get your point across to your reader without that smiley emoticon? I sure hope so.

You’re standing on your own two feet, smiley abandons you and all you have is your words. When we write, there is no gestures, or timbres of a voice that the reader can pick up, so we fully rely on proper punctuation.

First there is the missed period. Sure it can mean you’re pregnant but in your writing it could mean a total misunderstanding of your words. The period is going to tell your reader that your thought is complete, and that you’re going to string together another thought. If writers forget the period, they have a run-on long sentence, (a big no-no in the writing world) or that the writer has an incomplete thought.

Sally and Joe went out to eat humans are a funny species eating all the time they also went window- shopping down the avenue for clothes they enjoyed each others company.

Sally and Joe went out to eat. Humans are a funny species, eating all the time. They also went window-shopping down the avenue for clothes. They enjoyed each others company.

Did you know that the second-most familiar punctuation mark is the comma; it is also the most misused punctuation mark. It’s used to indicate a minor but necessary pause, and its proper use is simply invaluable to good writing. The omission or misuse can cause worlds of confusion to your reader.

John ate furiously grandma for dinner was so relaxed.

A world of confusion ensues.

John ate furiously. Grandma, for dinner, was so relaxed.

I like this example:

When I’m eating people avoid me

People avoid me when I am eating. (sloppy eater)

Avoid me when I am eating people. (cannibal)

Do you see it? COMMA: people! Are you grasping all that punctuation can do for you? Sometimes in my writing even with the proper punctuation, I am totally misunderstood. Someone will say to me, “you sounded upset.” (angry, ungrateful, etc.) And I’m thinking, really? My words on a page have no sound, so how did you read that into my words.

I realized that not only with punctuation, misplaced words can lead the reader down a wrong assumption path.


He works long drawn out days. I have no car to rely on while he works. I’m in a sea of change and my routine is rocked. Minimum wage won’t pay the massive amount of bills.

That sounds bitter? Ungrateful? Pained?


I’m so grateful for the long days of work. Minimum wage is better than nothing at all, in this day and age. If the Lord wants me to have an additional car, He’ll bless me with one. We’ll manage like we always do.

To the eye, certain words omitted means there is something the writer isn’t saying. But add a few words like: GRATEFUL, BETTER, ADDITIONAL, BLESS, MANAGE and the person might understand your true emotion.

Sure turns it around making the statement sound more upbeat, doesn’t it? Enjoy your writing, but most of all don’t miss those periods or comma usage, it could mean a difference in life or worse, death.

Book Bites:

Write Right by Jan Venolia

(I couldn’t resist)

Grammatically Correct by Anne Stillman

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