Monday, April 15, 2013

Being Punctuated: A Matter of Clarity and Comedy

I recently had a discussion with some friends about why so much time is spent on grammar and mechanics in school. Isn't it all a little arbitrary and pointless? To partially answer that, I submit the following cases where the grammatical mechanics (punctuation in this case) make all the difference in meaning.

Try not to laugh too hard.


1. Say "No" to drugs

Incorrectly punctuated:
Just say "No" to drugs from the D.A.R.E. police officers.

Whoops, lets not turn the officers into drug dealers.
Just say "No" to drugs, from the D.A.R.E. police officers.


2.A comma could save a life

Incorrectly punctuated:
For all those who like to cook and eat my wife just made a blog with recipes.

Let's make sure no cannibals show up:
For all those who like to cook and eat, my wife just made a blog with recipes.

Incorrectly punctuated:
"I want to eat Mom!"

Or, for the good of the whole family:
"I want to eat, Mom!"

3. Declaration of love?

I'm sorry I still love you.

Or, is it...
I'm sorry. I still love you.

4. Emphatic Quotation Marks


5. Who needs who?

Woman without her man is nothing

Could be:
Woman: without her, man is nothing.

Woman, without her man, is nothing.

You decide.


  1. Thanks for the "informative" post Melanie!

  2. Thanks for posting that. I taught school and there were some pretty funny errors along the way. Punctuation is important. Don't waste your food. Don't waist your food. The first sentence tells you to eat your food. The second tells you not.

    1. People complain about school, then constantly prove that there is not enough time spent on this stuff (or it's not sinking in). Punctuation, grammar, word choice--IT ALL MATTERS! Thanks for sharing. I like your example.


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