WHY PUNCTUATION MATTERS Tuesday, 07 January 2020
Let’s start with maths… • Please attempt to sort out these simple equations: • 22=x • 3(x-4=24 • 3x3-1=6 • 2+57
What is the problem? • When we remove the symbols instructing us, the sum becomes nonsense. • Equally, if we get the symbol wrong: 2-2=4, then the sum makes no sense. • The symbols are the grammar and punctuation of a mathematical “sentence”.
So in English… • A misplaced apostrophe can alter the meaning of a sentence: • Parent’s evening : how many parents are being invited here? • A comma can be vital: • A rabbit eats, shoots and leaves. OK ,but where does it keep its gun?
Now a poem to help recognise the importance of punctuation: • “Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have set us down to wet Right many a nipperkin! But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, And killed him in his place. I shot him dead because-- Because he was my foe, Just so: my foe of course he was; That's clear enough; although He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, Off-hand like--just as I-- Was out of work--had sold his traps-- No other reason why. Yes; quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down You'd treat, if met where any bar is, Or help to half a crown”. • THE MAN HE KILLED: THOMAS HARDY Direct speech Ballad form –simple rhyme pattern and 4 line stanzas. Tells a story Caesura interrupts flow of line Enjambement leading to stanza full of caesurae. WHY? Futility?