Archive for April 23rd, 2009

News 8 in Austin, Texas ran this headline today:

“House OKs pulling some information from records”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what came to ours:


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We’re having fun with this category this week. Here’s yet another headline that made us “think.”

From the CNN Sports Illustrated Vault:

“The Most Revered Streaks in Sports”

(click here for the real story)

What comes to your mind?

Here’s what comes to ours:

Revered Streaks in Sports

Revered Streaks in Sports

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Punctuation is a device used to assist the reader. Punctuation is defined as the practice or system of using certain conventional marks or characters in writing or printing in order to separate elements and make the meaning clear, as in ending a sentence.

Today’s subject: “end marks:”

1.        the period “.”

2.        the question mark “?”

3.        the exclamation point “!”

1. A statement is followed by (ended with) a period. Periods follow declarative sentences, sentences that make statements. Further, a declarative sentence containing an indirect question is followed by a period, not a question mark. “A reader asked why that is.”

The period is often used for terminal purposes when a sentence is not involved, as after numbers in a list:

1.        there is

2.        a period

3.        after each

4.        bullet number

In addition, the period is used to terminate many abbreviations: e.g., i.e., Mr., Dr., Ms., Rev., etc.. (Did you notice the “double period” there? the first period is to terminate the abbreviation “etc.,” and the second period is to complete the sentence.)

Our favorite … possibly overused … is the three periods … used to indicate the omission of one or more words or sentences in a quotation: “I pledge allegiance … to the republic …” Notice this additional period which terminates a sentence in a longer quote: “Shakesperare was born in 1564. … He married Anne Hathaway in 1582.”

2. Why is a question is followed by (ended with) a question mark? Again, to make meaning clear to the reader. Let’s look at examples:

  • A direct question with the word order as an interrogative sentence, “Why did you visit our site today?”
  • A direct question with the word order as a declarative sentence, “A fish can drown?” (This one could also be a statement, “A fish can drown.” (ended with a period).)

Remember, though, that a declarative sentence which contains an indirect question is ended with a period. “Someone asked us what keeps readers coming back.”

Here’s a twist … Readers sometimes ask us, “When are you going to post a new poll?” In other words, “we are often asked when we will post a new poll.”

3. We want to make a strong expression of feeling about this end mark! We caution against using the exclamation point to indicate only mild emotion. Most writing guides suggest that the overuse of exclamation points will dull the effectiveness of the mark. This is not nonsense! We totally agree!! Pay attention!!!

Helpful sources:

Warriner, John E., Mary E. Whitten, and Francis Griffith. English Grammar and Composition. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1965.

Hopper, Vincent F., Cederic Gale, Ronald C. Foote, and Benjamin W. Griffith. A Pocket Guide to Correct Grammar. New York: Barron’s Educational Service, Inc., 1984.

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intaxicate. v.

  1. to affect temporarily with diminished physical and mental control by means of refunded money from the IRS, esp. to excite or stupify.
  2. to make enthusiastic; elate strongly, as by intaxicants; exhilarate.

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Grammar Police got arrested yesterday! The charge was improper word use, of all things.

We had just received a refund from the IRS, we must have been operating while intaxicated.

Citation detail: using “invoke” when we should have used “evoke.” (See: Headlines)

Arresting authority: Motivated Grammar

Our sentence: community service …

We do, hereby, invoke the mercy of the court:

invoke. v.

  1. To call on (a higher power) for assistance, support, or inspiration.
  2. To appeal to or cite in support or justification.
  3. To call for earnestly; solicit.
  4. To summon with incantations; conjure.
  5. To resort to; use or apply

And, hope to evoke a GrammarGuilt-free world …

evoke. v.

  1. To summon or call forth.
  2. To call to mind by naming, citing, or suggesting.
  3. To create anew, especially by means of the imagination.

We will, however, continue in our present duties and shameless promotion of proper grammar (with your help)!

Thank you.

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