National Punctuation Day Brain Teaser

After first or second grade, punctuation is not something that most people spend too much time thinking about. But today? Today is National Punctuation Day! When I exclaimed this out loud, the office erupted in excitement. Yes, really.

We are people who actually do spend a lot of time thinking about grammar, and we decided it was important to acknowledge the havoc punctuation can wreak on communication. (Of course, here in the marketing department, each of us has a favorite punctuation mark.  Obviously, I love parentheses and exclamation points, while Jill, our Marketing Director has a soft spot for the em-dash but a singular hatred for the Oxford comma.)

For example: the punctuation of a sentence can convey many different thoughts and meanings. In this exercise we removed the punctuation to the first paragraph of a famous book (Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre) and then asked a few people (who weren’t as excited about the day) to add the appropriate markings back in.

The variation was really interesting!

Try it yourself! How would you punctuate the following paragraph?:

there was no possibility of taking a walk that day we had been wandering indeed in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning but since dinner mrs reed when there was no company dined early the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre and a rain so penetrating that further out-door exercise was now out of the question


3 Responses to National Punctuation Day Brain Teaser

  1. June 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM #

    Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  2. Matt Anthony September 27, 2010 at 12:55 PM #

    I have my own opinions about President Oxford Comma, but I think we should leave politics out of such a blog. Oh, wait a minute…

  3. Fred September 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM #

    There was no possibility of taking a walk. That day, we had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery, an hour in the morning. But since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early), the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

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