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Punctuation Pitfalls

I have noticed lately that punctuation's smallest but maybe most important mark, the period, is getting more and more play while some other members of the grammar family are getting less.


Take the period's  rise to fame on major market advertising. So many slogan writers use the period to create a little drama and impact in their ads -- all geared to make certain we remember what they are selling.


Such as:


Guts. Glory. Ram. ( And who would argue with Sam. Elliott, anyway?)

Mazda Fighter. Men Only.

Buick: You're Due. Definitely Due.

Toyoto Verso. Have Kids. Keep Your Style.

Checkers. little place. BIG TASTE.

IHOP. Come Hungry. Leave Happy.

Pork. The Other White Meat.

Home Depot: You Can do it. We can help.

Olympus. Your Vision. Our Future.

eBay. Buy it. Sell it. Love it.


The trend seems to be affecting rock bands too with the new sensation -- fun. -- using a period to set them apart. I only realized this when I was reading a story about the Grammy winners and thought there was a typo in the story when fun. was mentioned, well as. . . fun. I guess when you are the Best New Artist you can spell your name any way you like!


Which brings up another subject: Now if you take that prominent period and put a line over it as I just did above, you will arrive at the next most used (or mis-used) form of punctuation mark  in the 21st century. The exclamation point is so over-done it's hard to even know where to begin.


I took a writing course from a widely-known writer years and years ago -- before personal computers took over our lives -- who seriously suggested that everyone should get a certain number of exclamation points when they are born, and that's all you can use in your lifetime.


Somehow using an exclamation point is just way too easy to do in texting and email. I am as guilty as anyone of this  since we are using a medium to communicate with which doesn't allow for any emotion to show through. And we are always doing it FAST! to let people know that we are Kidding! Happy! Serious! Laughing! Lost! Sarcastic! Angry!


Where this trend will take us is anybody's guess, K? But I don't think it bodes well for punctuation or our ability to communicate well.


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