Punctuation matters
Thread poster: Marcela Robaina Boyd
Marcela Robaina Boyd  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 2, 2003

Taken from "Eats, Shoots and Leaves", by Lynne Truss.

BTW: The title derives from one of the book's numerous jokes: A panda goes into a bar, orders a sandwich, fires a gun and heads for the door. A shaken barman asks why. 'Look it up,' says the panda, throwing him a badly punctuated wildlife manual. The barman turns to the relevant page: 'Panda: Bear-like mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'

Punctuation pitfalls that can transform sentences into utter gibberish

The misplaced comma: An actor playing Duncan in Macbeth called out, 'Go get him, surgeons!' when he should have said, 'Go, get him surgeons'.

The missing question mark: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Altered meanings: A woman, without her man, is nothing. A woman: without her, man is nothing.

The yob's comma: The society decided not to prosecute the owners of the Windsor Safari Park, where animals, have allegedly been fed live to snakes and lions, on legal advice.

The missing apostrophe: Dead sons photos may be released. Thank God its Friday. Dicks in tray. Prudential - were here to help you.

The colon and semi-colon - old-fashioned, middle-class and dangerously addictive?

The exclamation mark - like laughing at your own jokes?

The Oxford comma debate: Ham, eggs and chips versus ham, eggs, and chips.

Plain illiteracy: Make our customer's live's easier. Gateaux's. Your 21 today!

Hear'Say: The pop group's apostrophe was, according to Truss, 'a significant milestone on the road to punctuation anarchy'.


Marcela Robaina Boyd
Translations (English into Spanish)
598 2 309 3922

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R. James
United States
Local time: 12:52
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Lovely... Dec 2, 2003

Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

The "Oxford Comma Debate" still nags at me, I must say.

Does anyone have a particular resource they rely upon to clear up nagging punctuation questions?

Also, I've been meaning to ask something else here... does anyone know of a site that compares punctuation standards of various languages, even on just the basic level of comma, apostrophe, and colon usage, etc.

I never cease to be amazed at the level of bad punctuation that some people leave (and that clients allow to be left) in their work. Then again, I guess it's something that only bothers a select few people.

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United States
Local time: 10:52
French to English
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2 possibilities Dec 6, 2003

Those are very funny - thanks

punctuation help:



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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
English to Tamil
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Try this one Dec 6, 2003

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:52
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Same letter, opposite meanings Dec 13, 2003

This is a reader's letter in today's 'Daily Telegraph':

The two sets of words that follow are identical, but the punctuation changes a positive declaration of love to a firm rejection of Jack's advances (no, she isn't writing about me):

Dear Jack:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours?

Dear Jack:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours, Jill.

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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:52
Italian to English
+ ...
missing punctuation Feb 11, 2004

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:

that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.


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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:52
Italian to English
+ ...
another link Feb 11, 2004


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