National Punctuation Day (NPD) was founded by journalist Jeff Rubin in 2004 to draw attention to the importance of the correct use of punctuation. Its mission: to change the world, one apostrophe at a time. The celebration occurs each September 24 in the United States.
NPD maintains a web site (www.nationalpunctuationday.com) and a Facebook page. Rubin welcomes submissions of photos of incorrectly punctuated signs, plaques, ads, newspaper headlines, menus, or business cards (firstname.lastname@example.org). The organization sponsors a contest for students and adults each year. Www.wikkihow.com/celebratenationalpunctuationday suggests several ways to honor the day.
Why should writers care about correct punctuation? First, it helps readers understand your intended meaning. There is a world of difference in this classic example: (A) Let’s go eat Grandma. (B) Let’s go eat, Grandma. (A) Dines on Grandma while (B) dines with Grandma. Your errors won’t be that extreme, but they will distract and mislead your reader. Secondly, you want your reader to believe you are intelligent and industrious—not too stupid or lazy to learn a few rules.
I recently finished reading a novel with an intriguing plot and compelling characters. It told a good story and could have been a great book, but it was rife with errors, mostly punctuation. The author ignored common comma rules and made up some of his own. If I were rating this book 1-5, I would give it a 3 instead of the 5 it could have earned. If I pay $19.95 for a book, I deserve an edited story, not one that looks like a first draft.
Choose AP or MLA style and review the rules. Show respect for your reader by having someone knowledgeable proofread or edit your manuscript. Celebrate correct punctuation every day!