Oh yes, I may already hear you think “what is this?”, dear reader. But not to worry, I shall try to keep this as entertaining as possible.
In how many ways can punctuation be abused? Many and more, I am convinced. The over-use or total lack of periods and commas is something I don’t really appreciate. And I assume that you don’t either.
Commas are perhaps the worst enemy, although one can never be sure. After all, the difference between Let’s eat, Grandma and Let’s eat Grandma might be all too obvious, but in a story about an ancient cannibal tribe in dark Africa this may make a significant difference. Especially when further in the story you suddenly realise that Grandma wasn’t eaten after all. Or how about this little gem: He was deaf and blind in one eye. Blind in one eye, I understand that. But deaf in that eye as well? He was deaf, and blind in one eye does make things a bit clearer.
Now I admit that this example is a bit over-obvious, dear reader. But from a book I once read, this example should be entertaining: A panda eats, shoots, and leaves. Here we have an overabundance of commas. Pandas usually do not shoot after eating, to leave after those activities. Of course, the sentence should read A panda eats shoots, and leaves.
But now look at this: The man looked over to the side and swimming in the pool he saw an ambulance. Where is the man? And where is the ambulance?
The man looked over to the side, and swimming in the pool he saw an ambulance.
The man looked over to the side and, swimming in the pool, he saw an ambulance.
Behold the power of punctuation. And proper sentences.