Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Party Time for People With a Penchant for Proper Punctuation

Move over, Grammar Gurus, 'cause not your day. Tomorrow is reserved for those folks fascinated and maybe even a wee bit obsessive about all things curvy, slashy, or otherwise dotty.

That's right - September 24th, 2009 is the sixth annual National Punctuation Day! According to the official NPD website, this most auspicious day is:
"A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis."

NPD has all the trappings of a first-rate holiday right there on their website for your perusal, but let's start with my personal favorite - food. NPD has its very own Official Meatloaf of National Punctuation Day. (Seriously. You can check out a picture of one, and even nab a PDF of the recipe.) But if you're not much of a follower, you can flex your creative oven mitts by entering the National Punctuation Day Baking Contest. Oh, yes. And, there's still time to enter! But the deadline - September 30, 2009 - is fast approaching, so check out the official rules for all the important deets.

Let's move on to the next celebratory staple, shall we? Christmas has Santa, Easter has the Bunny, and those momentous days of tiny lost teeth have the Tooth Fairy. Not to be outdone, NPD has its very own (dah-dah-dah-daaaaahhhh!) superhero! Who is this epitome of proper punctuation? Well, just think: there you are, writing away, when you have to write one little three letter word. Just one, tiny little pronoun. But, which version should you use: its, its', or it's? Who ya gonna call? Punctuation Man, of course, who swoops in to give you just the guidance you need.

So, ya got your food. Ya got your holiday figure. Now, how will you celebrate the day? The NPD website has you covered there, too, with a link to all kinds of relaxing and punctuating things you can do. Some examples: read a newspaper, circling all the punctuation mistakes you find; take a walk and note the signs you see with punctuation errors; and write a mistake-free letter to a friend. For the more leisurely among us, the site also lists some less strenuous and decidedly more relaxing - if questionably related - options.

There's lots more to explore on the NPD site: photos sent in of poorly punctuated signs, info on a program for kids to help them develop great communication skills, and letters from folks from all over with questions and/or praise. There's even a page dedicated to punctuation resources. And for the shopaholics among us - you guessed it - stuff to buy!

Who knew there were so many ways to celebrate punctuation? Choose a few from the site, or make up some of your own, but any way you punctuate it, have a fabulously fun National Punctuation Day!


  1. I am going to that site. I try to be scrupulously accurate with spelling and punctuation, and I still get tripped up by both from time to time.

    !!!!!!! See how much fun punctuation can be???????

  2. This is a great blog entry! I love punctuation too! I tell students I visit at schools about how a missing quotation mark in a very old banking law resulted in a Supreme Court case!

    But I'm a tolerant punctuator - after all, it's only a matter of time before even the most careful of us make a mistake, so I try not to be too hard on others! And these days, I am particularly intrigued by the idea of emoticons as punctuation - maybe we can develop some rules for their use!



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