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There's a grad student I read about that has a website devoted to people that use "unnecessary question marks" in writing.

She has photos of things like a restaurant that has "lunch" and "dinner" with quotes like that.

Not only are they unnecessary, sometimes they give the words completely different meaning. In Mississippi there is a sign by a security guard that says "security guard"...which makes you wonder what that security guard really does.

I remember comedian Kevin Nealon actually joked about this a decade ago. He was talking on a late night show, telling a story, and doing the quotes with his hands every other word.

But, what I think has made people better writers, and also worse ones...are emails. It's understandable if people shorten words on cell phone texts, but why when you're typing an email?

And, the amount of times I've seen the exclamation point. It's ridiculous. Someone will write "How are you Josh!!!" That should be a question mark. And, why ever use an exclamation point unless you are yelling to someone "Look out!" as a piano is about to fall on them from a 10th story building.

Now, by reading this, you probably think I'm one of those people that is a spell check nazi. I'm not. I don't care how my horrendous spelling looks (just ask my editors). And, I don't care how emails to me look, as long as I can read them. I remember I had one "friend" named Mary, who always corrected my email spelling errors. She stopped when I challenged her during Scrabble, because she spelled yacht, "yaught".

My friend Peg corrects my spelling, even after I pointed out in her emails, "a lot" should not be "alot".

I know writing about punctuation isn't the most exciting topic. I just thought it was funny that someone devoted a website to it. Now that "A Way With Words" is back on the air locally, they'll devote a day to punctuation.

Just be glad I left out the two paragraphs I wanted to include on semi-colons and how they are, sadly, the most under-used.

Comments
2

In your opening line you say this student has a website dedicated to "unnecessary question marks". Did you mean, unnecessary quote marks rather?

Oct. 3, 2007

Yes, I did. My bad.

Oct. 3, 2007

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