How revisiting punctuation can keep you out of trouble

If your students are struggling to grasp the basics of punctuation, don’t be surprised. British linguist, David Crystal, recently discussed how there are many different interpretations of the ‘rules’ of punctuation.

In a recent interview on the ABC’s Books and Arts program, he suggests that you try an experiment whereby you remove all punctuation from a text and ask your students to add the punctuation back in. He maintains that no two edits would be the same.

It is not surprising that such differences occur given that prior to the advent of printers and the need for some consistency, people made up their own rules when applying punctuation or simply used none at all. The rules as we know them today were not really established until the 19th century and there were many exceptions and indeed objections to their application. Whilst many people don’t see the problem with a flexible approach to punctuation, the debate continues with David Crystal seeing the need for improvements in the systems of punctuation for the internet.

Share (by commenting below) the most irritating (amusing/creative) examples of unconventional punctuation you have come across here. Eg:

Get a Job Punctuation.png

Essential English Skills for the Australian Curriculum Second Edition provides a multi-level approach to developing key language and literacy skills for every student. Or for a comprehensive and interactive tool for teaching essential English skills, trial Dynamic English Skills today.

David Crystal has written many books in the field of language and is well known for both The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language.

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