How many of us can’t seem to use punctuation marks correctly? How many believe they won’t ever get it right?
Now, how many have passed their driver’s test?
Punctuation is a lot easier if you think of the different marks as different road signs. Of course, there are rules to go along with these signs, rules we ignore at our peril. On the other hand, sometimes we don’t always strictly follow the rules. (Take it from a “lead foot.”)
Periods [.]are like stop signs. They bring the reader to a complete stop.
Exclamation points [!] are like caution signs.
Question marks [?] are like crossroads signs.
Commas [,] are like yield signs.
Semicolons [;] and colons [:] are like four-way stops.
Parentheses [()] are like detour signs.
Dashes [–] are like lane shifts.
Okay, so you get the basic idea. It’s not a perfect system, but it’ a good way for me to remember proper punctuation.
4 thoughts on “Weekend Wrinkle: Punctuation & Road Signs”
The apostrophe is the one that trips many people. Some seem to think it’s supposed to go with the letter “S”, as in “apple’s 59c”. Then there are the words that already end in “S”, as in “Jones” – is it “Jones’ ” or “Jones’s”? “Apostrophes’ ” or “apostrophes’s”
For the most part, apostrophes are fairly simple (see https://aclark2831.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/a-fight-for-apostrophes-rights/) EXCEPT for those pesky singular possessives ending in “s.”
Here’s the lowdown as far as I can tell:
MLA – According to the Purdue Online Learning site (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/), any singular noun ending in “s” should be followed by an apostrophe and another “s” such as boss’s.
The online Chicago Manual of Style, when asked this same question (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/PossessivesandAttributives.html), answers that either is correct (boss’ or boss’s) although preference is adding the apostrophe and “s.”
My old APA style manual (fourth edition) avoids the issue altogether, and my VERY old AP manual says to put the ‘s on unless the next word begins with an “s” (boss’s desk, boss’ seat),
My preference is to add the apostrophe and the “s” for the singular. Hope this helps (but probably not…).
P.S. “Apostrophe” is singular, so one apostrophe’s use, many apostrophes’ uses.
I thought this was very clever and certainly a completely new (for me) way to look