Tuesday, September 23, 2008

National Heritage Day

Wednesday September 24 might well be National Heritage Day and even National Braai Day here in South Africa, depending on your political and gustatory tendencies, but in the United States it’s also National Punctuation Day.
Even an illiterate moron can see that a panda which “eats, shoots and leaves” is a little different from one which “eats shoots and leaves” – and Brit wit Lynne Truss made her name an international synonym for perfectly punctuated sass in her excellent book of the same title. As she says on her site “Have fun. And always remember, ‘Call me Ishmael’ is different from ‘Call me, Ishmael’. Commas really do make a difference.” http://www.lynnetruss.com/
My own favourite illustration of that is closer to home: “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.”Or, if you want to invert the sexist slant, you might perhaps prefer: “Woman without her man is nothing.” Happy National Punctuation Day!

2 comments:

Down The Wire said...

Indeed. Punctuation adds a whole lot of value to our communication. And Truss' take it on it has raised awareness of its importance but I wonder who invented punctuation in the first place? A man or a woman? Maybe it was a joint effort.
If so, might I humbly suggest (as a man, he added in parenthesis) that the exclamation mark (!) by dint of its er, upright design, must be the work of a bloke. I'm sure the question mark was invented by a member of the fairer sex. Not only is it a little more complicated in appearance but women to tend to use it a lot more, as in "Does my bum look big in this" and "It's two in the morning. Where have you been?"

F-World said...

Thanks Down the Wire,
I quite agree ... perhaps because men, like an exclamation mark, are often less afraid to be assertive!
On the other hand, perhaps women take a rounder view?