Two Cents: Rules Matter. Except When They Don’t.


Shh…I start sentences with and. And I don’t care if that breaks the rule Mrs. Dawson enforced like a tyrant in 7th grade English class. She was old-school. While I respect that, I take creative license. A lot. Some might say I’m a badass. But, in fact very few people actually say that. I also start sentences with but.While I like punctuation and rules, I like them best when they suit me. For example, the Oxford comma completes me in a way that Jerry Maguire never could. And, I love ellipses…and punctuation outside of quotation marks cause me great discomfort. I’m also defiant and use en dashes – instead of em dashes — because I think they look better. I might also use both of them incorrectly at times. Thank god for editors and proofreaders.

Remember indenting and double spacing after periods?
Yeah, don’t do that ever again.

The thing I like most about punctuation: It’s not rocket science. I don’t have to know the “rules,” because I have a search engine. I have not abandoned the MLA Handbook, AP Stylebook, or The Chicago Manual of Style. They’ve always been there for me.

Keep in mind I’m a creative writer at an ad agency – not a journalist, technical writer, lawyer, or corporate type. More than occasionally I do write articles, blogs, or other longform copy and happily follow all the rules in whatever style guide I’ve been directed to. Some rules in some mediums were not made to be broken and the client, like Mrs. Dawson, is almost always right.

If there’s one thing that kind of confounds me though, it’s the semicolon. Obviously, I do the mature, rational thing and avoid it entirely.

Happy #NationalPunctuationDay!