Loving Words Over Punctuation
Pedant: a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
I make lots of mistakes.
I don't mean math errors, bad turns, or speaking when I should be silent (though I make plenty of those too).
No. Perhaps my most common shortfall is with the English language.
I butcher it every day.
Sometimes I get a text from a friend pointing out a problem. Occasionally I'll receive a nice "I know you'd want to know" email from a reader. Other mornings I'll discover the mistake myself.
Thankfully, most days my mom runs interference and quietly corrects my errors in the background and "gently" instructs me on how to do better.
As I was saying, my hack job is relentless. Perhaps you can relate to my common foibles...
I split infinitives (btw - I have to google what that means EVERY time). I forget commas before I start quotes. I abuse that and which out of shear laziness. (After all, I own Elements of Stylewhich covers that topic in the first chapter.) The rules about punctuation inside or outside quotes always throw me off. (Something about "logical links" blah blah.)
Still, I sit at the keyboard undeterred.
I can't keep away from words. I love them.
I love watching words show up at the end of my fingers as I type. I love hearing them from the mouths of kids. I love seeing the way words look on a page. Oh yes, I love speaking them too.
Sure. I notice when people write "your" when they should say "you're." I see when an "Oxford comma" isn't correctly applied.
(I'm mildly embarrassed to admit I know the term "Oxford comma," but there you have it; I am my mother's daughter.)
Every time I push "publish," I am grateful for you, dear readers, who extend me grace and read along anyhow.
In a similar way, I am encouraged and amused by the ever-articulate Stephen Fry who puts the entire punctuation discussion into its proper context. If you have six minutes, it's worth your time.
Listen for the Oscar Wilde quote in the middle; it's my favorite!
Enjoy your words today, friends!