Punctuation Mark’s Aren’t Toy’s

In light of the recent post on rules of writing, how about some real life examples of what not to do?

We’ve all seen our fair share of misplaced apostrophes hanging around in plural words, like this one, here, on a note in my apartment building:

apologies if you see these words instead of a picture. wordpress is fucking with us all.

(I see another resident has his eyes on proofreading, a kindred word nerd in Alphabet City.) But this one spotted in Williamburg, BK, is truly creative in its positioning:

downsized 0916091729

I’ve seen “your” for “you’re” and vice versa. But the “you’r” iteration is new to me. Clever, no?

Now allow me to pass the mic to Drew, author of my favorite web comic, toothpastefordinner.com

(This ones a shirt!)

www.toothpastefordinner.com

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7 responses to “Punctuation Mark’s Aren’t Toy’s

  1. I also like people who misuse “quotation marks” in signs. Like when you go to a restaurant that promises “excellent service” and they put it in quotes…

  2. Oh Jo’seph. Poor guy barely speaks English.

  3. What do you have to say about that upside down stuff the spanish speaking world does? It’s almost as if to say, “Get ready, I am going to ask you a question,” or “Brace yourself, I am about to get really excited about something.”

    • I’m going back and forth on this one. Go with me, won’t you?

      My first reaction is that I like the warning. If you preface what you’re about to say to me with a symbol that says “I expect a response when I’m done,” I’m more apt to actually listen to you. Win-win. Similarly, launching an excited declarative with an inverted exclamation point saves me any unnecessary shock at the end (Top of the muffin TO YOU!).

      That said, a little mystery is a good thing, and as a journalist I worship the power of a good kicker. A ? or a ! is like a sentence’s kicker; why rob it its rightful bang? Moreover, it’s redundant. I don’t start every sentence with a period to let you know it’s eventually going to end.

      To go academic, though, I’ll venture that at least the question mark plays a role in helping you properly accentuate a sentence that could be either declarative or interrogative. To wit: in English I would declare, “You have a problem,” but I would ask you, “Do you have a problem?” Note the differences.

      Meanwhile, in Spanish I could declare, “Tienes un problema,” or ask you, “Tienes un problema?” Same syntax, different meaning. So a little hint at the beginning could really help a reader know how the following phrase should be said.

  4. maybe the dumpster note is saying “you’re trash” but forgot the ‘e’

  5. Shall we alert Lynne Truss?

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