Today, as I and all time-wasters know, is National Punctuation Day. Hail, caesura.
I don’t often cover punctuation here (though I praised the hyphen here). But I was pleased to see that the oh-so-valuable punctuation is connected to lawyers.
Yes, lawyers. For as Wikipedia explains to us, the development of punctuation use—primarily its dearth in places—was affected by law practice:
“One aspect of archaic legal drafting—particularly in conveyances and deeds—is the conspicuous absence of punctuation. This arose from a widespread idea among lawyers that punctuation was ambiguous and unimportant, and that the meaning of legal documents was contained only in the words used and their context. In modern legal drafting, punctuation is used, and helps to clarify their meaning.”
Read more here. And the next time you get annoyed at a surplus of unnecessary punctuation, thank an Old English lawyer (we all know one or two.)
If you’re the type who wants to really dig into your punctuation, here is a webinar in honor of the big event. It is hosted by the Poynter Institute, which puts on marvelous educational webinars for journalists—and others! The webinar is at 2:00 Eastern time today—which means it’s 11 a.m. here in Arizona—still time to register for this $9.95 class (pretty inexpensive, eh?).
And if you were hankering to celebrate National Punctuation Day (or NPD, as aficionados call it), here’s how.
Finally, here is an entry that bridges that gap we’ve always wanted to see closed—between punctuation and food. (Hmmm?) Yes, it’s true; you too can have a recipe for a Punctuation Meatloaf.
I don’t want to be a nudge, but I’m not sure I want the word semi-colon—or colon at all—in a sentence discussing meatloaf. But as long as we’re enjoying this, wouldn’t a colon simply be two hamburger patties?
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