As the earth spins and people go about their daily life, history is being written, love and war is being documented, the citizens of the world are becoming ambivalent to dying punctuation and grammar. Most of them unaware. But not I. I have a nagging sense – a perception that emanates from the universe to those hyper aware – of structure falling out of place. When I write a letter, an email, a post, I feel out where apostrophes belong because I don’t know the actual rules. I’m not sure if the period goes inside or outside of the quotation; inside or outside of exclamation points. I’m pretty sure that I abuse of semi-colons, put hyphens to shame, and dishonor commas. I vaguely haze through the elementary mnemonic tricks embedded long ago in our memory that taught us how to construct proper sentences. To this day, I don’t know what a conjunction is or where the junction proposes to be. Determining a possessive, which should be cake, makes my spine want to disconnect from the brain. For a self-proclaimed writer, syntax should be my cup of tea. (As you get to know me, you will see that I wrote the last two sentences just to incorporate cake and tea into the matter.)
I believe in language and literature. For all the rebellious tendencies I have to defy the norm, I’m still an advocate of proper grammar, punctuation, and writing in all its forms; a lazy advocate at that. Now that I find myself typing reports at work trying to make sense of atrocious run-ons and freaking out when I have to rearrange a sentence, and more recently attempting to make it effortless for readers to capture the essence of my thoughts, I break into an invisible sweat admitting I know not what I do and hope that the sticklers forgive me when I violate the building blocks of expression.
Here is a small example that will practically force you to appreciate how important it is to give mind to punctuation:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman; without her, man is nothing.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a wonderful British token to help all the lost ones find their position in regards to the dying discipline crying out for adherence to the most basic foundations of communication. She even works for a company designed solely to protect the integrity of the apostrophe in the coming generation of texting and fried brains, where full-stops (the word for period in Britain) do not exist, much less the respect for spelling.
For those who have a nagging sense to risk losing their friends by correcting someone’s ghastly use of ‘your’ versus ‘you’re’, or cringe at their personal disappointment of not remembering what a clause is, this books is for you. It’s a hilarious read at the least (gotta love those BritBrits), if you don’t give a flying monkey about easy-to-read paragraphs. Communication skills are plummeting fast in a world where its kitsch to bend the rules to your liking. I strongly believe in the human right to self-expression, so it’s about time I re-educate myself and enforce the laws that my disgruntled English teachers didn’t bother to instill in us, leaving us lost, shattered, and with a strange void that needs filling. If you’re going to write, do it right!
*I swear I didn’t intend on making that pun. My geeks status rises without even trying.*
I’ve known about this book for a long time. I checked it out from the library years ago. The fear of responsibility that comes with knowledge threatened me to put it down before the first chapter was over, despite its hilarity and wit. Today, I’m taking it on. I will do write (right, more puns made of cheese) by prose, essays, letters, texts, and even post-it notes. Read up if you’re writing is atrocious. Yes, even if you’re just a chronic TXTR:
*P.S. This post does not even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about my Alzheimers-like attack on spelling, spell check, and the misuse of words’ definitions (shudders). Kudos if you catch any downtrodden mistakes of language. Save them before I do.
* P.P.S. The blog, Cake Wrecks, on the blogroll to the right, is a direct result of the tragedy that happens when you don’t mind the English language. A depressing waste of cake. Must see to believe.