The Guardian’s David Crystal has a great blog post about punctuation and how some people are just too anal when it comes to their commas and periods :
…if punctuation was something which everyone completely agreed about[…]then it would be easy to identify errors. There are indeed many areas of language where such agreement exists…The problem with punctuation is that most of its features do not present such a clear-cut state of affairs. Alternative usages exist, and there are many exceptions to the rules.
His post is in response to the highly popular Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss, who gave us “permission to love punctuation”–I can’t be the only one that wants to hit her for being obnoxious, can I?
It is absurd to think that things should simply be ONE WAY! I’ll let Crystal finish her off:
I don’t like an approach which blames people for their handicap, even in jest. I think such energy would be better spent trying to improve an education system which has left huge holes in their literacy. Such a situation requires sympathetic intervention, not balaclava’d condemnation. That is why I am zero tolerant about Trussian zero tolerance.
As I discovered today at work, some people are far too touchy when it comes to language issues. I thought I was going to be lynched when I expressed sympathy for Merriam-Webster’s addition of “ginormous” to the lexicon—it’s not a ginormous deal, right?
Frankly, I’m a little scared to tell people what I really think about hyphens, n-dashes and m-dashes.