Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Punctuation Day

WITHOUT GOOD PUNCTUATION THE UNITED STATES WOULD NOT HAVE WON WORLD WAR II ALTHOUGH THIS IS LIKELY AN OVERSTATEMENT CERTAINLY THE INVENTION OF PUNCTUATION HAS MADE WRITING A MORE PRECISE ENDEAVOR HELPING INCREASE COMPREHENSION AND THE TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE CLEARLY THIS IS DONE BY BREAKING UP THE STREAM OF WORDS INTO LOGICAL COMPONENTS THEREBY REDUCING AMBIGUITY AND ALSO BY RELIEVING THE READER OF THE NEED TO CAREFULLY PARSE TEXTS INTO ITS COMPONENTS WHICH CAN OFTEN BE PROBLEMATIC DOES THIS NOUN GO WITH THAT VERB OR ANOTHER ONE IS A QUESTION THAT IS RESOLVED WITH PUNCTUATION CONSIDER THIS AMBIGUOUS PHRASE WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING WHICH CAN EITHER MEAN THAT A WOMAN NEEDS HER MAN OR THAT A MAN NEEDS HIS WOMAN BUT WE CANT TELL WHICH MEANING WITHOUT PUNCTUATION ANOTHER BENEFIT OF PUNCTUATION IS THAT IT CAN CONVEY SOMEWHAT THE PACING OF SPOKEN SPEECH AND OCCASIONALLY THE TONE OF VOICE AS WELL AS DISTINGUISHING QUESTIONS FROM STATEMENTS READING ANCIENT MONUMENTS IS OFTEN A FRUSTRATING BUSINESS DUE TO LACK OF PUNCTUATION AND EVEN WORSE ARE EVEN OLDER MONUMENTS THATDONTEVENPUTSPACESBETWEENWORDS THE EARLIEST EXAMPLE OF PUNCTUATION CAN BE FOUND ON THE MESHE STELE OF THE 9TH CENTURY BC AND GREEK DRAMATISTS USED PUNCTUATION TO DISTINGUISH THE VARIOUS ACTORS PARTS IN THEIR PLAYS THIS USAGE DATES FROM THE 5TH CENTURY BC ROMANS ONLY ADOPED PUNCTUATION IN THE 1ST CENTURY BC THE CHURCH GREATLY INCREASED THE USE OF PUNCTUATION AND AN EARLY SYSTEM WAS DEVISED BY SAINT JEROME IN HIS SCRIPTURE TRANSLATIONS PUNCTUATION BECAME STANDARDIZED AFTER THE INVENTION OF THE PRINTING PRESS WITH MUCH MODERN PUNCTUATION BEING INVENTED BY ALDUS MANUTIUS IN THE 15TH CENTURY PUNCTUATION CAN ALSO MAKE A TEXT MORE BEAUTIFUL AND THE ART OF TYPOGRAPHY HAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE USE OF PUNCTUATION MARKS AND ESPECIALLY THEIR GRAPHIC DESIGN AS A WAY OF EASING COMPREHENSION AND ARTISTIC APPEAL A SIDE EFFECT OF PUNCTUATION MAY BE THE LOSS OF INFLECTION IN MODERN LANGUAGES SINCE PARTS OF SPEECH NOWADAYS ARE RENDERED BY LOCATION WITHIN A SENTENCE SET OFF BY PUNCTUATION MARKS BUT THIS IS JUST A SPECULATION ON MY PART LETS ALL CONSIDER THE IMPORTANCE OF PUNCTUATION ON THIS NATIONAL PUNCTUATION DAY

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