We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks! – The Daily Prompt
I’m an editor and I certainly do have a strange relationship with punctuation. I’m completely an ellipsis junkie. I constantly find myself using them at the end of my sentences. Almost similar to how southern woman will end their sentences with a question or by trailing it off…
For ellipsis purists, I’m highly annoying. I know it’s so wrong, but I don’t wanna be right.
I also inherited an ampersand thing from a boss I had years ago. Like her, I’m very Joan Crawford about ampersands. I’m known for viciously yanking them out of sentences where they are used to replace the word and. I’m only tolerant of this on Twitter, because you know, 140 characters leaves little room to work with…
And then there are my UNC-CH aka Carolina alumni who love themselves some exclamation marks. Allegedly it’s all because of Thomas Wolfe. But they aren’t alone now. Because apparently since we communicate mostly by text and by email now, humans have increased their usage of exclamation marks to head off any potential misunderstandings. We’re such enthusiasts now! Even a simple “Thanks” as an email sign-off warrants this excitable piece of punctuation. And for heaven’s sake, please stop calling it an exclamation point!
Recently I’ve worked with a couple of heavy em-dash users. Gaaahh!!! They loved their em dashes so much. I gave up taking them out of articles because they weren’t wrong, and they started looking kinda cool to me. Don’t look at me like that. This is a safe space. I’m allowed to let my punctuation freak flag fly high here.
Oh don’t let me forget the coworker with comma compulsion. She could not let a sentence live without a comma. It wasn’t even the usual Oxford comma drama that editors (and some designers) have. It made my former journalism training kick in. I was ripping them out not quite as fast as she was putting them in. I mean I believe the comma is sadly underused in today’s world in general, but she was surely trying to make up for all of you louts who are trying to kill it entirely.
Maybe we do need new punctuation to help us as we grapple with reading between the lines on Facebook, emails, Twitter and texts. What say you America? Why yes, of course you have the answer — the SarcMark.
Lastly, I’ll just come back to me for another punctuation quirk that purists would love to murder me for. Yeah, I use “?!” together at the end of my sentences. But there are just times when it works, right?!
I know I’m not alone so I’m ratting out others who have punctuation quirks.