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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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September 25, 2008

Dash & ellipsis: confessions of an overuser

If you’ve overdosed on economy and presidential campaign news, this column is for you.

Gather around the computer, kids, and give thanks for what helps all communication make sense: punctuation.

Yesterday was National Punctuation Day, the day that reminds America that a semicolon is not the outcome of a surgical procedure. The opening story on the official Web site reads,

Why is punctuation important Jeff Rubin the Punctuation Man and founder of National Punctuation Day explains that without punctuation you would not be able to express your feelings in writing not to mention know when to pause or stop or ask a question or yell at someone and without punctuation you would not be able to separate independent clauses and show an example of how a business lost millions because of an errant comma so dont forget the most important punctuation mark $$$$$$ OK so a dollar signs isnt a punctuation mark but its important dont you agree

Even though scores of people now communicate like this, “Whr R U?” Rubin says the rules of proper punctuation haven’t changed and are as important as ever. And if you're a reader of "The Lutheran," and I trust you are, give thanks for Andrea Pohlmann, who keeps our punctuation in check.

So celebrate the period, comma, colon, semicolon, question mark and my favorites—the dash and the ellipsis....  Even the explanation point and quotes, but use them sparingly. “PLEASE!”

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