Get Ready For National Punctuation Day!!

OMG . . . at last, a holiday I can really get behind!

Tomorrow is National Punctuation Day in the USA. If only I had known in advance, I’d have baked semicolon scones to send in for their contest.

See the site at!

The serial comma finally gets its due in the form of their endorsement.

How many horses were in the race, three or four?

“The horses thundered toward the finish: black and gold, red and white, blue and teal and yellow.”

When punctuated using a serial comma, the meaning is clear. Four horses raced neck-and-neck: black and gold, red and white, blue and teal, and yellow.

(I could envision it other ways: what if they were black-and-gold, red-and-white, blue, and teal-and-yellow? Another argument for hyphenating compound modifiers, as well as including the serial comma. I also think teal goes better with yellow. Or it could be black-and-gold, red-and-white, blue, teal, and yellow. You know, the Joycean “blue and teal and yellow” stream.)

[They include another example of an ambiguous book dedication, but I’ve always preferred my original example from years ago: “To my parents, Hillary Clinton and God.”]

“Punctuation counts,” says Rubin. “A misplaced comma can alter the meaning of a sentence. ‘Style guides’ should never get in the way of clarity. The proper use of the serial comma should be taught, used, and accepted universally.”


Now, if the world would only get over that hangup about the interrobang.
# # #
“Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.”–Lewis Thomas, “Notes on Punctuation,” _The Medusa and the Snail_ (1979)


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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