A few days ago, I awoke around two in the morning which seems to be par for the course these days. So as one does, I began mulling over all the outstanding jobs around the house that I know are crying out for attention. However, (and it will come as no surprise) within a very short space of time I was yawning, yet sleep was still avoiding me. So I moved my thoughts on to story characters, works in progress and before I knew it I was mentally doing the punctuation Hokey Kokey……..
‘You put the speech marks in,
The speech marks out
In out in out
You move them all about
You do the Hokey Kokey and you turn around
That’s what it’s all about’
You get the picture?
Yes, punctuation and in particular ‘speech marks’ or if you prefer “speech marks”. As a child, I loved them! I loved all aspects of English. Grammar, punctuation, comprehension. I remember my first favourite English Teacher was an American lady and my second favourite a New Zealander (I kid you not). I actually used to run to my English class and I have great memories of being chosen to read several chapters of a book called ‘Magnolia Buildings’ to the rest of the class.
All very interesting I hear you say, but what’s that got to do with punctuation?
Everything! Because now I fear the Punctuation Police!
Back then, punctuation was a pleasure. (Yes really!) One could sense the necessity for the comma, feel the strength of the semi-colon and revel in the exclamation mark! It was sheer bliss.
But alas, with the passage of time, the coming of age of computers and the pace at which we all live our lives, there are times when crimes against sentences are committed. I speak with particular reference to the omission of speech marks and I have offended.
My first thought was that it was either a misunderstanding or a memory lapse, which brings me back to the Hokey Kokey…..’in out in out‘………But, no matter and in the words of Tracey Beaker ‘whatever,’ the Punctuation Police are out there and on the case!
My misdeed was brought to my attention, subtly and with the get out clause that it was most likely a technical error, which occurred during transportation of text to another format. But nevertheless it left me so cross with myself that I hadn’t noticed beforehand, that I put an immediate plea out on Facebook for examples of the correct usage of the ‘sixty sixes and ninety nines’ (aaaahhhh, memories of school), just to reassure myself that I wasn’t omitting punctuation willy nilly.
So thank you to those that took part in my small test, you will be pleased to learn that you all passed with flying colours, with only two omissions of the little blighters between you, (and those I really feel are a matter of preference). I was also pleased to see that you all punctuated exactly as I would and do, from which I deduced that my earlier omission was merely an oversight. The other positive to this blog post is that once you’ve read it you’ll hopefully read my other work on my website and even if you find punctuation misdemeanours, (we can make this a game you know) the main thing is that you’ll have read my work and fingers crossed, you’ll have enjoyed it!
‘I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation.’
Sherlock Holmes Quote
-A Study in Scarlet