When is it a good idea to use an exclamation point, bold, underline, italic or uppercase letters in a sentence? How about never! Ever. Ever. Ever. EVER! With the exception of text messages, which for the most part are devoid of punctuation save a liberal smattering of exclamation points!!!!
The utter lack of punctuation in text messages is bearable, although it can be a tad annoying. After all, if you have time punch “c u later” in a text, take 1.76 seconds longer and text “See you later.” Sure, people are busy, but they’re not that busy. In fact, I don’t know anybody who might be rushing to perform emergency brain surgery and a few precious seconds could mean the difference between life and death. But that is beside (yes beside, not besides) the point, or more accurately the punctuation.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was complaining about punctuation in text messages. Gaaa, I suddenly feel like my grade three teacher lamenting cursive and the lost art of handwriting. Can you imagine if she saw some of the text messages floating around? OMG!!! She wud freak
I digress. Let’s get back to punctuation. Regular old punctuation, in regular old emails and regular old sentences found in regular old places. Periods, good. Commas, good. Hyphens – chances are they are being used incorrectly so best to leave them out. If you really want to know, there are two kinds “en” dashes and “em” dashes… Hello? Are still there? No, I thought not. Could we write anything more boring than an explanation of in-sentence-dash-etiquette? Nope. So just don’t use them.
Oh, and speaking of punctuation people use incorrectly all the time… ladies and gentlemen… the ellipses. Otherwise known as three periods in a row. Yes, just three “…” not four, not five, just three. Technically there are two kinds of ellipses. The traditional use is to abbreviate a direct quote. But abbreviating direct quotes takes time and effort and seriously, who can be bothered with that? The other use is the less formal, email ellipses. Dot, dot, dot, is used to suggest a falter or pause in speech. It is mostly used for comedic effect. I use it all the time because I think it is funny…
Last but not least the semicolon. The semicolon is stupid and pointless. Just use a period. Period.
I think I hear my third grade teacher gnashing her teeth. I better get going. Check back next week when I describe how I used to walk uphill to school, in the snow even in the summer, long before anybody knew anything about climate change.