Daily Archives June 14, 2014

Critique Technique, Part 53 — Punctuation

Humanoid image surrounded by question marks

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Ross B. Lampert

Perhaps as much as spelling, punctuation can be a wonder and a mystery to a lot of novice writers. School teachers try to teach their students all sorts of rules—if you really dig into it, there are hundreds of them—and of course they all have their exceptions and caveats. After a while, many students just give up, and it shows.

I thought I had a good workable handle on what to use, when, and how until I went to one of my friend Harvey Stanbrough’s seminars, and then the light bulb really came on.

Harvey’s take on punctuation is simple: punctuation exists simply to help the reader understand what she’s reading. Try this and you’ll see what I mean:

I dont understand why punctuation is so importa...

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