Clancy Cavnar (wowlebrity, owl lover, and occasional WOW Report contributor) entered the 2013 National Punctuation Day essay contest and won! “Yes, I entered the punctuation day essay contest and yes, I won.” Says Clancy. You’re a winner baby! Read her (WINNING) essay after the jump!
National Punctuation Day calls attention to the subtlety of which language is capable. The announcement of a special day for punctuation caused me to reflect on the importance of these small marks, and how worthy of attention they are for anyone who writes anything. Poorly punctuated signage is posted on Internet humor sites for all to mock; some mistakes are so basic we can (almost) all feel superior when we see them. But it’s not just about mistakes. Knowing that there is a Punctuation Day also led me to think of why someone might want to institute such a tradition. Punctuation is a stand against chaos, an imposition of order that, used wrongly or in jest, can reverse the meaning of words dutifully lined up, clueless without the wise commentary of punctuation. Punctuation used in an orthodox way serves as pointers and markers, delineating boundaries and dissecting and clarifying sentences so their meaning is made manifest. Used playfully or dramatically, punctuation adds elements of timing, volume, attitude, accent, and humor. Many people are invested in proper punctuation, both readers and writers, and having rules we all agree to follow ensures that the path from mind to paper and from paper to mind is unobstructed with misunderstanding. We can witness here the phenomenon of the small being mighty, and the details being paramount. It is good to have a day to remember the tiny marks that boss the paragraphs around.