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This is my blog-esque thing for the Eats, Shoots & Leaves Journal project. I hope it is satisfactory. 

With that said, I would like to point out that this whole thing is going to be a bit backwards. Sorry, but it was having the blog backwards, or me reading the book backwards, and I don’t think that would have been the best. So, sorry if this in any way is an inconvenience.

Also, I’d prefer not to have my whole name on the internet in this manner, so, yeah.

-Monika (that one Monika who is in your B4 class)

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This chapter focuses largely on emoticons (several pages are dedicated to them), and the internet’s effect on punctuation. Though in retrospect, the latter is probably the more overarching theme of the chapter.

So the internet: the wonderful, amazing, procrastination-inducing, helpful, damaging thing we call the internet. It’s great, information at your fingertips that a lot of people waste in favor of cat videos and flame wars. At least it’s kept words alive. Sort of? They’re not really treated the same as they were in say, a book. There can be a lot of ellipses and poor grammar, and little to no punctuation, but hey, it exists.

One of its redeeming qualities is that you can look up with great ease how to use correct punctuation, grammar, spelling, and the like. Though these things were already available via books, really, people are more likely to use the internet. Plus, for every five people who suck at punctuation and don’t care, there is at least one stickler to bug them about it until they do care. Maybe I made that statistic up, but it’s got to have some truth to it, deep, deep, deep down somewhere. You have to admit, the internet is slightly better than television, which requires no use of words. At least that much is true.

But one argument for e-mail, which Truss had included in her argument against it, was a newspaper article that said employees saved 1.8 hours of work because of e-mail. So, I was thinking, that sounds alright. That’s a decent amount of time. Then of course, I read the reasoning, and well, it’s not pretty. It was “because they took less time to formulate their thoughts” Sorry, what? So they saved time by writing e-mails because they didn’t have to formulate their thoughts? In what way is that a good thing? That’s like not thinking at all. And when people stop thinking, all the world falls to horror, because people can’t think for themselves. They simply believe what they are told. And what of advancements? There are none!

People have to be able to formulate their thoughts so they know what exactly they want to say, and how to best say it with the clarity of a pristine river. Without the clarity and the formulating of thoughts, people might as well be smashing their heads against a keyboard, and sending that.

Oh, but emoticons! Frankly, I see minor problems with them. Mostly because I like talking to people face to face because a lot of human communication is non-verbal (i.e. gesticulations, facial expressions, and the like), so having the occasional emoticon isn’t that bad. Usually I stick to :D because frankly including the dash for a nose bothers me to no end. And people will continue to use them, no matter how unruly Lynne Truss may have it out to be. Yes, it uses punctuation for ways that it really was not intended for, but everything is alright in moderation.

Finally, there is one paragraph that I loved, that I really liked as someone who really wants to do this in her own writing: that is, knowing the rules, so you can control and depart from them as required by the writing. I think that is a cool way to use/ break the rules of punctuation: with a purpose.

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I quite like hyphens, or rather, I don’t have a real problem with them. I mean surely the over use of them, like anything else in life, can be a bit overwhelming, but sure, why not? Hyphens! If a paragraph has an overabundance of hyphens, it’s sure to date it, and make it look a tad overwhelming, but that’s just where the moderation comes in!

Can I admire the people who absolutely hate the hyphen? Because I do, but not admire in the glorifying sense. More so, I think it’s funny how against a tiny dash they are. Woodrow Wilson, how can a tiny dash be un-American? That’s silly. Let me re-iterate, it’s a tiny line. It isn’t for or against any one country, so it can’t be un-American. Frankly, I don’t know what you would do without them.

There’d be no way to distinguish s-s-s-stuttering without the use of the hyphen. It’d look like t t t this, and that just looks silly and confusing. Plus, Truss mentions this in the book but, an extra-marital affair is very different from an extra marital affair. And without the hyphen, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish the two! It’d be very unclear. It’d also be the opposite of what you intended, which is never ideal.

Now I will admit, I am not much of a user of the hyphen when conjoining two words. I’m not very good at it, and a lot of the time, the computer is the one to tell me “Nope! That-that’s not right! It needs a hyphen there! Use it! Go!” This I am not proud of, but it is an unfortunate fact. Perhaps I will become a connoisseur of hyphens one day, but as it stands, I am not. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to use them for other things. Oh no. I definitely use them. I use them for s-s-s-stuttering, if and when a character stutters in a story (which granted, isn’t all that often, but still). The other time I use them is if a character is being sarcastic and calls something a name that requires that use—like a phrase that is the extended name of something, just, never mind.

But I do appreciate the hyphen. I appreciate its use in coat-tail, even though I just typed it into Google with the hyphen and it gave me all these results for coattail, so that doesn’t bode well for the hyphen (not that Google is the godly decider of punctuation). But coattail looks weird. I would have it as coat tail or coat-tail because coattail looks like the t’s had a collision and it is unrecognizable.

And although technically you could leave it as coat tail (not recommended), thus rendering the hyphen begging on the streets for spare change, that doesn’t stop its need for words like un-American and pro-hyphen.  

I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore—moving on. You can’t get rid of the hyphen, Woodrow. It won’t work, is basically what I’m saying. The hyphen, even though it isn’t used as much anymore (like to-morrow is no longer standard, we just say tomorrow), can’t disappear. It’s still needed, even though that time may be small. Things just wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense without them. Four-thirty would be four thirty and then you’re just saying numbers without a connection. You could be saying the time, but who knows, maybe you weren’t. Really, the hyphen never hurt anyone. Plus it helps clarify things. I say keep it. Why not.

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oscarlearnoscarteach:

Where should your hyphens go?

Source: oscarlearnoscarteach
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liod:

This is a nice ass-post.

liod:

This is a nice ass-post.

Source: liod
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im-perfectionistic:

#3: When you run out of space on a paper and are forced to use a hyphen.

Source:
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Exclamation points, Question marks, dashes and even some ellipses all crammed into one chapter. And I can say that the first is overused, the second is alright, the third is one of my favorite (I can be quite the fan of stream of conscious writing), and the third, I am prone to overuse in textual communication.

So! Exclamation points! They are dreadfully overused! Especially by people on Facebook and in Youtube comments when they get so emotional that they have to end their sentences like this!!!!!!!1!!!1!!!111! It is gross. I don’t know what’s worse: the overabundance of exclamation points, or the ones. There isn’t anything aesthetically pleasing, or redeeming about it. I mean, if you’re going to use a ton of exclamation points, the least you could do is make them all exclamation points.

At most, I may use three, but even then it’s very sparse. This of course is in a text. In a more formal piece of work, whether it may be a short story or an essay, I will avoid exclamation points like the plague. Not necessarily in dialogue, but in the text itself, exclamation points just make almost everything over exaggerated and bubbly, or extremely angry, depending on the text. I find the whole idea of it being bubbly best illustrated in little articles, or other pieces of nonfiction that are giving facts:

          The average speed of a bobcat is over three hundred miles per hour.

Versus:

          The average speed of a bobcat is over three hundred miles per hour!

It’s almost as though there should be a little exclamatory remark at the end.

          The average speed of a bobcat is over three hundred miles per hour! Wow!

Exclamation marks are one of those things you should use sparingly, they’re like curse words. If you use them too much, it puts a damper on the overall effect of the mark. Thus, changing the effect of the sentence, paragraph etc. And, if that’s not what you’re going for, then not only is the mark not being effective, but you’re not being clear—which, as has been noted, is kind of a problem when you’re writing.

Moving on to the question mark and the other two because I took up a lot of space talking about the exclamation mark: I, unlike Gertrude Stein, see little wrong with the question mark. I think it’s fine. Granted, some people like to overuse that too, but not to the extent to the exclamation point. Things that are meant to be direct questions, without the question mark changes the way the question is read, and frankly, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I figured this would be a very good time to talk about my favorite punctuation mark—despite its lack of acknowledgement. This is of course an interrobang. It’s the hybrid of an exclamation point and a question mark, and it is sometimes disregarded as an actual legitimate punctuation mark. But I like it, and it sure looks better than !? or ?! But since it does include an exclamation point, it should probably be used sparingly.

Finally, to dashes and ellipses. I like dashes. I like stream of conscious writing. It feels liberating somehow. That said, sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And that impedes on clarity. But hey, its stream of conscious—it doesn’t always have be coherent. Brains aren’t always clear and concise right from the start. Still, I like dashes. They can make part of a sentence included where it otherwise wouldn’t be, and they feel, nice, and not sterile.

Ellipses however, can get a tad annoying and very incoherent very quickly…especially when they’re….used… in ways they’re…not supposed to be…used…like this. You stop paying attention to what the words are and everything becomes a jumbled up, incoherent mess. 

Overall, some of these marks are important, well they’re all important in some retrospects, some are just over used and should have their numbers reduced for fear of overuse, and therefore diluted in impact—and therefore clarity.