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The panda says no!

>> Saturday, April 12, 2008

If you cringe at the sight of these punctuated signs,

Car's For Sale
Trouser's reduced
Im here,,,,

Then you should be part of the Panda Sticker Army. If you don't see the error in those signs, I recommend require that you continue reading. You need to be acquainted with the punctuations that you are taking for granted.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves is the one of those genius books ever made. Punctuation marks are now codes that we need to decipher. When we're faced with sentences or phrases that need punctuation marks, we resort to doing an "eenie, minnie, miney, mo" on choosing the proper punctuation mark to complete the sentence and make it understandable.

If you have a very good relationship with these symbols, then congratulations, you are now qualified for the Sticker Army.

Whenever I'm on the road, I'm always on the look-out for signs. I've noticed that Filipinos have this desire for apostrophes. They add apostrophes to signs that don't need apostrophes. And when there is a need for one, it's either they don't put one, or there is an excess of it.

Congratulation's to our graduates!
Rj'3s sari-sari store's

They must read Lynne Truss's book, "Eats, Shoots and Leaves," a book on punctuation marks. She writes it in a humorous way, as if she were talking to you directly. She gives examples on how punctuation can change the meaning of written work and how they can change certain events in history. Yes, those little dots with tails can change the world.

One famous example is the source for her book title.

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda. Large blank-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

See how a comma changes anything? (If you force a laugh and didn't get the joke, start saving up for this book.)

Punctuation is important. Most of us only know the period, exclamation point and question mark. Those are the basic marks, also known as the end marks. However, those that come between such as the comma, dash, apostrophe and hypen are the tricky ones. They are usually the misunderstood ones. Majority of us do not know when to use them correctly. Lynne Truss helps us with that.

If you know how to use the punctuations, I still recommend that you buy it. I have to admit, I'm still confused on the plural of singular words ending in s. I have to memorize the words that do not need to add an s after the apostrophe for possessive nouns. When you do the possessive for Jesus or Achilles, you don't put an s after the apostrophe. But if it's a different name like Truss, there is a need to put an s after the apostrophe. The list for the exceptions is endless. The rule for that isn't really set on stone; it's more like what the general public agrees to.

The book also comes with a punctuation repair kit. It's main purpose is that when you see a sign that needs punctuational edits, then the stickers provide you the authority to edit the signs. There are large stickers for commas, question marks, periods, colons and semi colons. There are stickers that say, "The panda says no!" which are for punctuations that shouldn't exit on a sign. A clever idea, and I'm looking for the perfect sign to place my first sticker.

Join the advocacy, love punctuations and grab Lynne Truss's book.

Did I use my punctuations correctly? I hope I did (or maybe I overdid the commas). *grins*


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