In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By the Dots.”
I’ve always had a weird relationship with grammar and punctuation, to the point where the more uncomfortable parts of internet lingo might call it ‘grammar nazism’. Small, obvious typos annoy me, word choices confound me. And having begun writing on a regular basis about 2 years ago, I’ve begun noticing some of my own grammar and punctuation habits and shortcomings. There’s not much to say about my own usage of the Period mark. It’s there, it’s functional. What does annoy me is overusage. A single Period is ‘obviously’ to end a sentence. The triple Period is occasionally acceptable, though I doubt its within the rules, as a way to hint at further talk following the topic of the previous sentence, but ‘Occasionally’ is the operative word; it is rarely the right way to go. It annoys me so much that it inspired the closest I’ve ever had to a rant on my blog; the Dot Dot Death story. But while it does annoy me greatly, I would, or could, never do anything like what Bruno Tanger did.
The Comma brings me less annoyance but more worry. It’s rarely as misused as the poor Period, but is occasionally overused, as sentences are never ended and just go on and on. It’s not impossible to create a crazy long sentence that works, H. C. Andersen did, but most aren’t quite up to that par. I am certainly not. One piece of feedback I had about the first story I wrote when I started writing was ‘comma-fever’; every sentence had at least one comma, if not more. It was ever-present. So thats one thing I always try and look at when I write. Is a sentence going on for too long? Does that comma really need to be there, or can a Period beneficially take its place?
One habit I taught myself was using the currently-popular Hashtag. Not to make my posts look like some demented tumblr creation or fill my tweets with references, but to ease my editing and proof-reading; when I write something that feels dubious or weirdly worded, I put a hashtag on the end, so that when I go through the text I can simply search for hashtags and find all the spots where I doubted myself during the bulk of the writing. Which is why a few posts still have hashtags strewn throughout the text with no obvious pattern. It’s less of a ‘this needs changing’ and more ‘does this need changing?’.