Punctuation : Don’t Over-Punctuate
Today’s post is a punctuation rant. Let me start with a disclaimer – I actually really like using punctuation effectively. If you’re on our newsletter and have downloaded our free e-book on editing your own work, you can read all about my affinity for the serial comma. Get it here.
My gripe is with exclamation points and overuse of multiple periods…like when someone wants to tell you something but they’re afraid how you’ll react…so they just sort of write it…in an uncertain…indirect way…
It’s so annoying! Like people who want you to buy their book today! Or else you won’t be able to get it at this price ever again! So BUY NOW!
And while I’m at it, typing in CAPS? Please, please don’t do that.
Punctuation is like the strawberry on the mousse cake. It just gives writing that extra bit of yummy. That is, if you use it effectively. No rotten strawberries, please.
Here’s an example of over-punctuation:
Here at XYZ Widget Company, we create interesting, affordable widgets, for your home; your office; or your car!!!
Let’s try again:
XYZ Widget Company creates widgets that are affordable and interesting. You can use them in your home, at your office or in your car.
(Note that I omitted the serial comma. I break my own rules like that.)
Oh, and also: one space after a period. Not two. One. Why do you need those big visual gaps between your sentences? You don’t. Two spaces is just a homage to the days of typewriters. So unless you’re selling typewriters online (which would be fantastically ironic), it’s one space after a period.
What’s your biggest punctuation gripe?