In Which I Grouse About Punctuation & Think Fondly Of Erma Bombeck

I RECEIVED an invitation to attend a talk, at a university, given by an author.  Profits from the talk go to support the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, so it’s a good event to attend.

However, I find the invitation to be lacking, in a most disturbing way.  A way that displeases me, an English major and blogger extraordinaire.

A way, I have to believe in my educated-by-this-very-university heart of hearts, that would also displease Erma, a newspaper columnist and author.

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AND HERE is what I’m talking about.  One of my pet peeves is that periods [as in punctuation] are disappearing, inexplicably, from the end of sentences.

  • Look at most billboards anymore.
  • Look at tag-lines on advertisements.  On the sides of trucks.  On the packages which hold the food you eat.
  • Look at this invitation in which many lines of words are sentences, but WHERE ARE THE PERIODS?!!

Invitation with no punctuation

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HEAVEN KNOWS that I’d have flunked out of this university if I’d indulged in such disregard for punctuation.  I’m trying to not take this personally, but the evidence in this invitation shows…

A total lack of concern. For the very thing that I hold dear. Proper punctuation. Used almost frivolously. Stylishly. And without regard for cost.

Which is the only reason that I can fathom for why periods are disappearing from the end of sentences.  I have to suspect that in these economically challenging times, the up-charge for adding them to any written communication is so costly that leaving them out helps the bottom line.

That’s the reason, right? 

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

18 thoughts on “In Which I Grouse About Punctuation & Think Fondly Of Erma Bombeck”

  1. LOL. I feel like the author had no idea how to punctuate short phrases that weren’t sentences and so decided to be consistent in not punctuating anything. But there are real sentences there that deserve periods.

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    1. Kourtney, exactly. You’ve explained the conundrum well, but I still want to see periods where periods belong. Honestly, how difficult is it to do that?

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    1. You know, Kate, I wondered the same thing. Maybe ppl have stopped adding periods to the end of sentences because, like using the semi-colon, doing so is considered old-fashioned. Regardless, it still makes me unhappy to see sentences without them– especially from a university promoting a writer’s talk.

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        1. Yes, many ppl want the semi-colon to retire. I happen to like them so I’ll keep using them.

          And yes, you can use one space at the end of a sentence now, if that’s easier for you to do. On Twitter I do it all the time to conserve space, but when I write here the double space is so automatic that I go with it.

          Do what what works I guess… as long as you put a period at the end of your sentences!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Being more cynical than your supporters, I attribute it to a combination of delegation to a third-party working on the cheap, coupled with laziness by those who failed to check the work. Too many people who want to take the credit, but not enough people doing the necessary work to earn it – and not enough personal accountability for anyone to say, “yes, we messed up.” I agree it is a great injustice to those of you who know better. I hope you keep shining the light so these people may crawl out of the dark.

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    1. Zen-Den, you’ve explained all the variables so well, that I have to think that you might have had some real life experiences with this sort of half-assed thing! Hmm? Thanks for setting the record straight.

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    1. Margaret, I’m in awe of you! Never tried to use a semi in a text message and cannot tell you why not! How limited my communications have been– and that must change. 😉

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  3. If it’s a sentence it needs a period. (How else would someone reading out loud know where to stop and breathe?) It’s not decoration! Punctuation marks have functions. (And I feel guilty when blogging/commenting and leave them off when in a rush…I feel guilty. Haunted by sloppiness. At the end of days, I shall no doubt be handed a pile of papers and told to put in all these little dots who have been wandering homeless and crying without voices. No gates swinging open until the dots are in lines.)

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    1. philmouse, wonderful assessment of your own foibles. Clearly you’re with me here about my pet peeve. I cannot figure what happened with this invitation, although I think that Z-D nails it in his comment above. I have to believe that Erma would not approve of such sloppiness, but then find a way to write about it so that it was funny.

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  4. I’m sure that the Graphic Designer who laid out the flyer/poster/mailer decided that doing it this way IMPLIED the periods. I’m wondering about the sad little dash/hyphen that is left all alone at the top of the thing. Why on earth is THAT there? I can’t think of a single reason for it. I find the whole thing a bit off-putting and confusing; it lacks a real grace of organization overall.

    That being said, it sounds like a very good program. Erma Bombeck never failed to make me laugh, especially her book “The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank.” (I think that was the title.)

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    1. nance, you’re so right when you say that the period is implied. Silly of me to not understand that. I’ve no real explanation for the sad dash, other than to suggest that maybe it’s in a time out. It did something wrong perhaps? 😉

      I enjoyed Erma’s newspaper columns and when she was on GMA. I don’t remember reading her book. Must correct that oversight soon.

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      1. I’m completely charmed by the idea of putting punctuation in Time Out. Can we do that with the ellipsis, employed overmuch by some bloggers and online writers in general? How about the apostrophe, since it is so grossly overused?

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        1. nance, we can put any misused punctuation mark into time out. Why not, huh? Now whether or not anyone else follows our lead is a different conversation, but as for you and me, let’s do it! 😉

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  5. I agree, this is most annoying. My current personal frustrations are the keyboard that goes with my iPad, which goes crazy from time to time, and the keypad on my cellphone. I try to use full and correct spelling and punctuation when I text, but I need reading glasses to find the correct punctuation. It’s maddening.

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    1. J, it’s weird to me to see the period just vanish from everything. Like there was a secret memo sent to all the graphic designers and copywriters telling them to: henceforth and forever after dispense with the punctuation mark known as a period. Yep, I’ve just solved the mystery. It’s a conspiracy! 😉

      Also, I’m right there with you about the iPad keypad. While it’s clear enough to see in general, it’s annoying as heck to use when it comes to specifics. I’m sure that our inability to see the punctuation marks has nothing to do with our aging eyes, now does it?

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