Is Punctuation Still Relevant?

Today I shall take a break from my usual ramblings about children, seminary life, and Lutheranism and talk about a topic that is often forgotten but truly meaningful:  punctuation.  Yes, I am one of those obnoxious people who believe that good punctuation should be attempted in every writing situation.  From text messaging to blogging, punctuation just makes things clearer.  Now I don’t claim to be perfect in my own writings (so please don’t go back through my postings to point out every punctuation error) and I have been known to be a little comma happy at times (they’re just so versatile!).  However, some of the punctuation and sentence structures I’ve found via texting, Facebook updates, and so on simply don’t make sense.

I understand when it comes to texting that it does take a little more time to use proper punctuation.  I don’t even try to add every capitalization and quotation mark anymore, but to throw out every punctuation mark completely?  It makes it harder to understand.  Facebook is what really gets me.  Some folks think that the extra half second it takes to add a period or toss in a capitalization is too long.  I have had people tell me that others can figure out what they are trying to say so they don’t bother with the punctuation.  Well, I pose this question as a rebuttal:  why let others figure out what you are trying to say when you can just use punctuation and make it perfectly clear.

when i start typing like this it is harder for other peoples brain to translate what i am typing  therefore messages are more likely to become garbled and misunderstood  were talking about people accidentally taking offense here folks!

mY pERsoNaL FaVorIte Is WhEn PeoPLe TyPe LiKe ThIs.  HoW Is ThIs AnY FAstEr oR EaSiEr to uNdErStAnD ThAn ReGuLaR TyPiNg????  Plus, spell check was completely freaking out so I have no idea whether I spelled things correctly or not.

Finally, even simple sentences that omit punctuation can change meaning completely.  Almost six years ago I walked into my senior writing class to find this written on the board:

a woman without her man is nothing

Our teacher asked us to add the punctuation to the sentence.  Many of us did this:

A woman without her man is nothing.

Our teacher smiled and asked if there was another way to punctuate the sentence.  Finally someone went to the board and did this:

A woman:  without her, man is nothing.
Punctuation clearly can make a difference.  So the next time you’re tempted to omit an apostrophe or skip a comma, just use it anyway.  The means of communication will thank you.
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