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National Punctuation Day?

If you’re looking for a holiday to celebrate as summer wanes in North America, today is it: National Punctuation Day!

Even if you are reading this post after the fact, punctuation is always something to celebrate. After all, it keeps us out of trouble. Note this example:

No price is too high!
No, price is too high!

The comma, colon, semicolon, parentheses, apostrophe, and more–each one keeps us from communicating the wrong message.

But a holiday? I learned of this special day from writer and publicist Linda Rimac Colberg who forwarded a press release entitled “Think a Semicolon Is a Surgical Procedure? Celebrate National Punctuation Day, August 22, 2005.” Because the release had a catchy title and was punctuated perfectly, it got my attention.

Apparently this holiday is the brainchild of Jeff Rubin, who has dedicated a web site to celebrating those tiny marks. And it’s a helpful site too. On the home page, Jeff allows you to click on each of 13 different marks and learn all about it. (Yes, 13. Can you name them?)

I clicked on the ellipsis (“An ellipsis is not when the moon moves in front of the sun,” as the page notes) for an excellent detailed explanation with examples. If you want to find out about the ellipsis, click here.

What’s next? International Grammar Day? Plain English Day? Count me in.

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.