Punctuation is a victim of new technologies, together with human relationships, outdoor activities and social skills. But punctuation matters because it gives us key information. A full stop or a comma can change the meaning of a whole sentence. Compare the following pair of sentences:
I have two sisters, who I love a lot.
When your two sisters read this sentence both of them will be happy and probably give you a big hug the next time they see you.
I have two sisters who I love a lot.
What’s wrong here? Is there a third sister you don’t love that much? Oh, poor thing!
A simple comma can hurt somebody’s feelings and make World War III break out! Remember this rule when you learn relative clauses at school and bear it in mind forever.
The misuse of commas can lead to weird sentences like the one below:
I love fishing wild boars and trekking.
Who in the whole world has ever seen a wild boar swimming in the sea? Let’s write a comma and see what happens:
I love fishing, wild boars and trekking.
Abracadabra! It makes sense now!
Our mobiles are crammed with strange messages. Most of them are full of spelling or grammar mistakes. But let’s focus on punctuation. It is not unusual to wake up one morning to read something like that on your mobile:
Fancy a coffee.
In real life nothing happens. You immediately answer with the thumbs up emoticon and meet your friend later to talk over a cup of coffee. But to a philologist it may (well, it ought to) sound as an order, an imperative sentence. The following sentence is the one I would like to see in this case:
Fancy a coffee?
Yes, I’m being too strict. But, on the other hand, I think it is not that demanding to write a question mark. It would take me hours to try and convince some (some???) people of using the correct punctuation marks when they text their friends and, yet, I’m sure my effort would be fruitless. For most people it would be a waste of time or a pointless thing to do. You may be reading this and thinking: “Well, I don’t use all that punctuation stuff in my texts and I COMMUNICATE.” Now answer the following question sincerely:
Does it take u longer than necessary to decipher the texts u get
Oooops! That was a question! OMG. SCNR. NNTR.
I love some controversy, too.