The consequences of mispunctuation (and re-punctuation) have appealed to both great and little minds, and in the age of the fancy-that email a popular example is the comparison of two sentences:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
Which, I don’t know, really makes you think, doesn’t it? Here is a popular “Dear Jack” letter that works in much the same fundamentally pointless way:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
But just to show there is nothing very original about all this, five hundred years before email a similarly tiresome puzzle was going round:
Every Lady in this Land
Hath 20 Nails on each Hand;
Five & twenty on Hands and Feet;
And this is true, without deceit.
* What is proofreading?
* What does a proofreader do?
* What does a proofreader not do?
* Would I be suited to this work?
It may be inconceivable for you to misuse a word, but a quick look around the web reveals plenty of people doing it. And it’s all too easy when we hear or see others use words incorrectly and parrot them without knowing it’s wrong. Continue reading