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The smallest details

Xelor

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What is it with social media writers that they seem to eschew punctuation marks?

Fairly often, I find myself reading a sentence -- on DP or elsewhere on the Internet -- and, in trying to make sense of what the writer wrote, I have to try to suss whether s/he meant to include a comma "here or there" because absent a punctuation mark somewhere in the sentence, it's near incomprehensible. Now I haven't any specific examples to offer just now; however, I can offer an illustration of the impact punctuation marks have on a sentence's meaning.

Earlier today I posted this meme:

yoda.jpg


That sentence has very different meanings if one puts but one comma in it.
  • "Patience you must have my young Padawan." --> This means "have patience, Padawan."
  • "Patience, you must have my young Padawan." --> This sentence means nothing remotely like the one in above bullet. Does Patience agree that she must have the speaker's young Padawan? What does the speaker's young Padawan think about being had by Patience? I really don't know....I just know that comma makes there be three people/characters -- the speaker, Patience and Padawan -- involved in something.
    • Were we not to have the context the image provides, we would know only that Padawan is a person, places or thing that has a name, and in that case, "Padawan" could be be the name of an thing, a horse or a town, for instance, rather than a person.
Here's another example that illustrates the importance of the Oxford comma:
  • I love my parents, Janet Jackson and Kermit the Frog.
    I love my parents, Janet Jackson, and Kermit the Frog.

In any case, punctuation carries meaning just as words do; thus it's just as important as one's diction.
 

PleasantValley

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I think one of the reasons some are big blocks of text is they are really bad Copy/Pastes or written by robots.

Like knowing your ****, and knowing you're ****.
 

Chomsky

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What is it with social media writers that they seem to eschew punctuation marks?

Fairly often, I find myself reading a sentence -- on DP or elsewhere on the Internet -- and, in trying to make sense of what the writer wrote, I have to try to suss whether s/he meant to include a comma "here or there" because absent a punctuation mark somewhere in the sentence, it's near incomprehensible. Now I haven't any specific examples to offer just now; however, I can offer an illustration of the impact punctuation marks have on a sentence's meaning.

Earlier today I posted this meme:

yoda.jpg


That sentence has very different meanings if one puts but one comma in it.
  • "Patience you must have my young Padawan." --> This means "have patience, Padawan."
  • "Patience, you must have my young Padawan." --> This sentence means nothing remotely like the one in above bullet. Does Patience agree that she must have the speaker's young Padawan? What does the speaker's young Padawan think about being had by Patience? I really don't know....I just know that comma makes there be three people/characters -- the speaker, Patience and Padawan -- involved in something.
    • Were we not to have the context the image provides, we would know only that Padawan is a person, places or thing that has a name, and in that case, "Padawan" could be be the name of an thing, a horse or a town, for instance, rather than a person.
Here's another example that illustrates the importance of the Oxford comma:
  • I love my parents, Janet Jackson and Kermit the Frog.
    I love my parents, Janet Jackson, and Kermit the Frog.

In any case, punctuation carries meaning just as words do; thus it's just as important as one's diction.
Hear! Hear! :thumbs:

*whistles loudly*

And let's not forget paragraphing, topic sentences, and concluding sentences.

And while I'm at it, it's "there", "their", and "they're". Get 'em right! :doh
 

Chomsky

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I think one of the reasons some are big blocks of text is they are really bad Copy/Pastes or written by robots.

Like knowing your ****, and knowing you're ****.
:mrgreen:
 

Crovax

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[/LIST]
Here's another example that illustrates the importance of the Oxford comma:
  • I love my parents, Janet Jackson and Kermit the Frog.
    I love my parents, Janet Jackson, and Kermit the Frog.

No it illustrates the importance of common sense. If you think that Janet Jackson and Kermit are the parents of someone then you have bigger problems than grammar.
 

soylentgreen

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Even though i often fail with commas the best example i have seen that reminds me of how important to context they are is:

I helped my uncle jack off a donkey.
 

Xelor

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Even though i often fail with commas the best example i have seen that reminds me of how important to context they are is:

I helped my uncle jack off a donkey
.
Red:
That sentence illustrates the importance of capitalization, not the importance of punctuation/commas.
  • I helped my Uncle Jack off a donkey.
  • I helped Uncle Jack off a donkey.
That said, capitalization, though orthographically distinct from punctuation, matters too, and, like poor punctuation, errant capitalization can "ambiguate" one's sentence.

Similarly, the writer and the nature of his/her audience plays a key role in determining the criticality of his/her orthographic compliance. For instance and with regard to your "donkey" example:
  • Sending that statement in a text message to your uncle's wife/friend/close relative, you are unlikely to create confusion because the reader knows enough about you and your uncle to have a very good sense of whether you and your uncle may have masturbated a donkey.
  • Writing that statement, and not writing enough "other stuff" to provide more context, to readers who know little to nothing about you and/or your uncle almost certainly will engender questions, the most intelligent one being: "Is 'Jack' your uncle's name?"
 

Sampson Simpson

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I admit I don't proof read that often and type furiously while I think. Often times when I look back on it I make corrections since there was a ton of typos and errors, but we aren't publishing an article or a thesis. I get annoyed by how bad published online articles are, they are full of mistakes , types, duplicate words, etc. Should be more professional when putting out a news article online
 

What if...?

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Hear! Hear! :thumbs:

*whistles loudly*

And let's not forget paragraphing, topic sentences, and concluding sentences.

And while I'm at it, it's "there", "their", and "they're". Get 'em right! :doh

And "All of a sudden" not "All of the sudden".
 

Xelor

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And "All of a sudden" not "All of the sudden".

What's wrong with "suddenly?"

Truly and re: this thread's intended theme, whether one writes "suddenly" or "all of a sudden" is irrelevant. I rhetorically ask the above question only to highlight what verbosity is: it's expressing a thought by using words that add nothing -- neither context nor facts -- to the idea one expresses. "All of a sudden" and "suddenly" excellently illustrates verbosity because the former includes "sudden," yet the writer opted for three additional words when adding the "ly" suffix to "sudden" communicates the same idea. Were "sudden" an abstruse word and appending an "ly" suffix a recondite construction, writing/saying "all of a sudden" wouldn't be verbose, but neither of those things is uncommon.
 

Xelor

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I admit I don't proof read that often and type furiously while I think. Often times when I look back on it I make corrections since there was a ton of typos and errors, but we aren't publishing an article or a thesis. I get annoyed by how bad published online articles are, they are full of mistakes, types, duplicate words, etc. Should be more professional when putting out a news article online

Red:
I'm sympathetic to that; thus I'm not suggesting folks belabor proofreading their DP posts. It's casual conversation, but it's written rather that oral, so punctuation, more than a damn period, is sometimes necessary to accurately convey one's meaning.

Neither do I adequately proofread my posts here, and one won't have to look long or hard to find examples of that. That said, as I'm typing, that a given phrase needs a comma, em dash, etc. instinctively comes straight to mind,[SUP]1[/SUP] so I type the punctuation mark. When I proofread a post, I sometimes notice that I omitted (or errantly included) a punctuation mark or word, and I correct the mistake. More often, however and like you (perhaps like most web forum posters), I don't proofread. But were my diction and writing skills mediocre-to-poor, I would, mainly to disambiguate my remarks...because it's a waste of time to create confusion.


Note:
  1. For better or worse, grammar rules have become inculcated in my brain. They've been there and daily used since I was in middle school. I imagine that's so for everyone, even non-native speakers of many languages because the basic punctuation marks (comma, semicolon, question mark, exclamation point and "full stop"/period) and their uses mostly don't vary by language, and certainly not among major Western languages.

    For example, although I can't read Mandarin, when I saw it written, I saw commas. That told me the sentence contained a dependent clause, appositive, parenthetical phrase, etc.; thus when my translator told me what the sentence said, I knew to expect her to tell me of a main idea and a subordinate thought that somehow complimented or qualified it.
 

Xelor

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In preparing for an punctuation tutorial a friend asked me to give her child, I perused the Internet for content that suggested an approach to doing so in a way that might resonate with teens who have taken grammar and, for whatever reason, failed to master it. My quest led me to a website that explains the inflective role of commas and semicolons, "Writing Tips: How to Use Commas and Semicolons."

I heartily recommend reading that webpage. It's brief and, based on the punctuation improvement my charge realized in just an hour, effective.
 

Xelor

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In preparing for an punctuation tutorial a friend asked me to give her child, I perused the Internet for content that suggested an approach to doing so in a way that might resonate with teens who have taken grammar and, for whatever reason, failed to master it. My quest led me to a website that explains the inflective role of commas and semicolons, "Writing Tips: How to Use Commas and Semicolons."

I heartily recommend reading that webpage. It's brief and, based on the punctuation improvement my charge realized in just an hour, effective.
 
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