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This hiatus just got REAL
Meh declared cromulent
The usual post-election vocab lesson
Contest FAIL
A National Punctuation Day Contest
No one will ever pick up on this hyperbole
A spirited defense of good grammar
Good Stuff: 8/29/08
Montreal: phonetics, purists, and even some terror...

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Contest FAIL
Monday, September 29, 2008   6:44 AM

There were no entries, obviously... I'm still curious to see what someone can pull off, punctuation-wise, so I'll try to do this again next year with a bit more notice and perhaps a better incentive.

Meanwhile I proposed the same contest at my work and did get some entries, but they all had either too many periods or too many commas and so were all disqualified. I'm not sure if that's better than nothing...

(Isn't the snowclone [X] FAIL odd? Are nouns really the only "grammatical" inputs for [X]?)


I find the X FAIL snowclone weird. I thought it was for typos or silly mistakes, but the blog you link to uses it for unintentionally funny things that no one can fix, like town names.

I thought of your contest the other day while reviewing resumes (for a writing job, no less). One applicant wrote a six-line long sentence that included parentheses, a colon, AND a semi-colon. Can you really do that (use a colon and a semi-colon in a sentence)? I suppose you can so maybe the question is really SHOULD you?

oh, I guess that should have been six line-long, not six-line long.

posted by Anonymous mighty red pen at October 30, 2008 7:01 PM  

I suppose that John is my oldest friend... Of course that's "v kavychkakh" [inside quotation marks] as the Russians (!) say; I would hadly call him a real friend - still, when the chips are down he does often come through. But I sometimes wonder: is it better to be lost than saved by someone such as he?

Colons and semi-colons in one sentence would be acceptable (I reckon) if the colon were introducing a list and the semi-colons were separating the items in the list.

"The basket contained: cheese, melting slowly; ham, sliced thinly; and eggs, hard-boiled."

Oh, of course, JD, you're totally right. I might have seen something like a semi-colon followed by a colon ... it seemed legit. Scary, but legit.

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A National Punctuation Day Contest
Wednesday, September 24, 2008   9:04 AM

Happy National Punctuation Day!

(Dear official website people, I'm not linking to you because I can't even access your website at work. It has streaming media. Sincerely, Dan.)

So I don't know how to celebrate today. I baked a cake, but unfortunately it's not punctuation-themed; I should have invested in a comma cake pan.

Since the cake was a delicious failure, I've decided to offer a No-Prize (and perhaps something else, if the competition is fierce) to whomever can use the most punctuation marks in one properly-punctuated coherent paragraph without reusing any of them.

Punctuation marks that have to occur as a set (e.g. quotation marks) will count as one point total, and the set can still only be used once. There are no points or penalties for using capitalization or spaces or diacriticals, but use more than one period and you're out.

So have at it, if you're so inclined. Leave your submissions in the comments. The deadline is midnight tonight, Central time.

Bonus punctuation-related content: yesterday Dooce posted an amusing exchange of some slight relevance.

Carol: "Who needs best friends when I have you!!!???"

Me: "Carol, that was three exclamation points and three question marks. Someone out there right now is trying to write a paper and can't because you used up all the punctuation."

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