Friday, April 29, 2005

Passionate about punctuation

Among the blogs I regularly follow is one called Blogslot. It's written by Bill Walsh, a copy editor at The Washington Post. The blog evolved from his website, The Slot.

This guy is passionate about punctuation. I mean really passionate. Gotta respect that. At least I do. I don't always agree with him (although I often do), but I always respect his conviction.

I knew I was going to like The Slot when I first read his rant about people who incorrectly use hyphens in place of dashes ("What is not acceptable to me is the use of hyphens as dashes."). I couldn't agree more, Bill. Improper use of hyphens drove me nuts when I worked on a student newspaper years ago. Before each issue went to print I would personally go through the entire newspaper and correct the hyphens and dashes. I wouldn't let it out the door until this task was done, even though no once else either noticed or cared about the dashes.

With much difficulty and with much distress I have had to relax my dash work standards due to the prevalence of electronic communication. Text based email programs and some browsers have trouble dealing with proper dashes.

Today Bill expressed his excitement and amazement about parallel construction in a Wal-Mart TV commercial. The commercial was about their digital photo processing services and contained the following line.

"It's quick, it's easy, and the price is terrific."
This is indeed quite amazing. Well done Wal-Mart.

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