Smoking Pets

Exclamation markRelax. There’s no animal cruelty going on here, only bad punctuation.

Today is National Punctuation Day so let’s follow founder Jeff Rubin’s tips on how to celebrate:

  • Sleep late.
  • Take a long shower or bath.
  • Go out for coffee and a bagel (or two).
  • Read a newspaper and circle all of the punctuation errors you find (or think you find, but aren’t sure) with a red pen.
  • Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words.
  • Stop in those stores to correct the owners.
  • If the owners are not there, leave notes.
  • Visit a bookstore and purchase a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.
  • Look up all the words you circled.
  • Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator.
  • Go home.
  • Sit down.
  • Write an error-free letter to a friend
  • Take a nap. It has been a long day.

Or, if leaving notes to correct shop owners’ bad punctuation is not satisfactory enough, you can always thoroughly shame the shop owners in question by photographing their poorly punctuated signs and sending the snaps into Jeff for publication on the website. My favourite is the smoking pets.

You want some more punctuation fun? Try entering the haiku competition, deadline 30th September. There are some very funny haikus by Craig Harrison up on the site to inspire you, for example:

Dot dot ellipses
The yada yada of print.
So on and so forth.

I’m off to scour today’s papers to see what mistakes I can find. I’ll keep you posted. What’s the most amusing or unfortunate punctuation error you’ve come across?

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4 thoughts on “Smoking Pets

  1. You’re definitely not alone, Laura. Colons and semi-colons give me nightmares and when I’m not sure, I sometimes just put in dashes, which is probably a big punctuation no-no.

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