“I bet you love crossword puzzles,” said Linda, my new work-friend.
“What makes you say that?”
“You just love word.”
I do, indeed, love words. I like the way they sound and feel sliding or twisting in my mouth. Like the words homunculus (a little man) or onomatopoeia (a word that evokes a sound, like whispering willow or tweeting birds.) Of course ‘a little man’ can be lots of things, and tweeting and whispering go well beyond flora and fauna. That’s what I love most about words.
[tweetthis]Words can cantilever and fox trot around on the page. [/tweetthis] Like this little sign I attached to my file cabinet nearly twenty years ago.
Add punctuation, the party’s even livelier. Words can change the way we look at things and mean something different from we intend. That’s why one of my favorite kinds of jokes is Readers’ Digest “Pardon, your slip is showing.” And puns. I love puns. “Do you comma here often.”
Grammar diva’s get their proverbial pantaloons in a knot over a misplaced semicolon or debate the to-dos or not-to-dos of the Oxford comma. Maine truck drivers won a $5 million lawsuit, thanks to the Oxford comma; or I should say the lack thereof. “The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the missing comma created enough uncertainty to side with the drivers, granting those who love the Oxford comma a chance to run a victory lap across the internet.”
Mike Penkava, a writer for the Northwest Herald, thoroughly delighted me with his “Living the punctuated life of a lowly semicolon.
Mike gave me my first smile and my first laugh-at-myself moment of the day. Mike gives grammar personality. He writes about the exclamation point, commas, colons, apostrophes, and dashes; wary not to name the em dash and the en dash; probably because unlike the Olsen Twins, dashes are not all created identical. Like Mike, I’m a semicolon lover.
Here’s a few of Mike’s words:
“The semicolon, now that’s something worth pondering. Even its shape is intriguing; it’s a comma with a dot over it. It’s as if the comma wasn’t pause enough; something more hesitantly profound was needed.”
Right Mike, a semicolon sorta wants to be a period, but a comma insists we keep going. I love the idea of punctuation with personality, especially the strong-willed type.
“[The semicolon] hesitated, reconsidered and regrouped, and continued on.”
Mike knows what nearly everyone with a bit of grey knows. [tweetthis]That’s what life is like. Pausing, regrouping, continuing on. Until it’s not. Period. [/tweetthis] Or perhaps… EXCLAMATION POINT!