Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop

By Jeff Anderson | Go to book overview
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SECTION 6
The Power of Punctuation:
The Period Is Mightier
Than the Semicolon

Don't overlook the power of punctuation. It's not just window
dressing; it can change the meaning of a sentence 180 degrees.

Patricia O'Conner, Woe Is I

Punctuation in skilled hands is a remarkably subtle system of
signals, signs, symbols, and winks that keep readers on the
smoothest roads.

Rene Cappon, The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation

Punctuation herds words together, keeps others apart.
Punctuation directs you how to read, in the way musical notation
directs a musician how to play.

Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves

New conventions, such as word separation, features of layout
and punctuation, were developed to make it easier for readers to
extract the information conveyed in a written medium, and over
the centuries these were gradually augmented and refined.

M. B. Parkes, Pause and Effect

However frenzied or disarrayed or complicated your thoughts
might be, punctuation tempers them and sends signals to your
reader about how to take them in. We rarely give these symbols a
second glance: they're invisible servants in fairy tales—the ones
who bring glasses of water and pillows.

Karen Elizabeth Gordon, The New Well-Tempered Sentence

-143-

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