“I once helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse.”*
*Remove the above commas at your own risk. It can’t be unseen.
Now, we all know why punctuation is important to writing effectively. It completely changes the tone, and meaning of a sentence. It implies the inflection of the writer. That being said, I am not a Grammarian, nor do I play one on TV. I do my best to convey my thoughts in a way that is meaningful and straight forward. Occasionally, I fail. Failing is part of life. Today, I scoured the online-news venues that, most frequently, make my head hurt. I was not wholly disappointed. My brief search for funny punctuation turned up a couple headlines of interest. One of them lead me to believe that God and the Government were on a diet, the other alluded to the idea that one celebrity is no longer allowed to enter a movie theater that caters to the texting public. Both titles were funny, but the devil was in the wording and not the punctuation. Whether the various reporters choose to use these confusing statements to draw you in, or due to error, makes little difference. It is still an ineffective use of grammar. For now, I will pick on the person who posted the latest Ed Bassmaster Video. No offense, we all love Ed and his antics. I just happened to see it, and thought it would do. Plus, I don’t mind plugging his videos.
(Not a paid endorsement) Thanks for all the laughs Ed.
The title, and subsequent video in question, which is are both on YouTube.com, is titled, “ Skippy Annoying People“.
Taken out of context, and given its lack of punctuation, one might wonder what the video is about. Never mind the multiple meanings of the word/name Skippy. Is the video about a bunch of people that are cavorting with glee, and how it bothers others, or is the video about a guy, named Skippy, doing his best to bring love to the world? I won’t ruin the surprise, but anyone who knows Ed, or his videos, knows the correct meaning.
If the title meant there was a guy being a pain-in-the-butt:
Skippy: Annoying People.
If the title was meant to imply a bunch of flamboyant Mimes:
Skippy, Annoying, People. (Skippy is being used as a parenthetical statement)
Now a note from our sponsor: Lissa.
How to change or eliminate punctuation.
“Have you ever been confused by the proper usage of punctuation? Today only, I can teach you how to write things clearly by eliminating or changing the need for punctuation.”
Take this for example:
“Skippy Annoying people”.
Instead of adding punctuation, one might alter the sentence to read:
“Skippy Was Out Annoying people”, “People Were Annoyed By Skippy”, or “Some People Are Annoyed By Skippy”
OR the other meaning (Skippy used as a slang adjective or a verb):
“Skippy-People Are Annoying”, “People’s (<–apostrophe “s” used as a gerund) Skipping Annoys Others”, or “People Annoyed by Skipping”.
Sometimes, changing the wording can be the best way to avoid punctuation mistakes.
I can not say that all of the above or the examples are perfect or grammatically correct, but they may deliver a message that is much more clear.
(Insert Grammar Nazi repellant here ^)
Have fun and watch your commas.