December 1, 2008

Does Punctuation Really Matter?

Should you ever doubt the importance of punctuation in clarifying the meaning of words, I present you two paragraphs from Avi's delightful book, A Beginning, A Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing.

Each paragraph has the exact same words, but different punctuation. Notice how the punctuation affects the meaning.

1) "Avon! Don't forget all I said. You must not! Speak the truth about what happened! Things will be better, I think. To lie about the truth, it never helps!"

2) "Avon, don't! Forget all I said. You must not speak the truth about what happened. Things will be! Better, I think, to lie. About the truth . . . It never helps!"

Thank you, Avi, for showing us that when it comes to matters of punctuation, punctuation matters!

Happy punctuating,

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