The Exclamation Point! announces the 10 winners of the National Punctuation Day contest. The challenge was to use 13 punctuations marks in a short paragraph.
Sean Bradley of Dubuque, Iowa was succinct:
He said (to me): “Hey, Punk! You waitin’ for me to come over there and give you a lesson in good [expletive deleted] grammar?” I paused; my heart raced rat-a-tat-tat, but my voice – it just couldn’t find itself. Then, suddenly …
Demorah Hayes of Montgomery, Alabama let her imagination guide her:
If punctuation marks wore clothes, the comma would dress in brown — not rich, chocolate, winter-boots brown but faded, school-uniform khaki — and the ellipsis (remember those from Editing 101?) would wear a purple dress with oversized shades and sit alone sipping a martini,” said the founder of National Punctuation Day as she announced the day’s events to celebrate the “lowly comma . . . and the ever-mysterious ellipsis.” She was vague about the clothing choices of the question mark, suggesting that “the question mark is like the lady who changes [her dress] as the minutes tick by, with her husband yelling ‘late!’ as he slams the door.” She was more certain about the colon’s dress: monochromatic; balanced on top and bottom; and modest in size, color, and fit, as if to say, “look not at me but at what comes after me.”
Aubrey Gonzalez of Huntsville, Alabama wrote the best student entry:
As a student, I am often told by my English instructors (often—but not too often; I do get good grades in English [but not always, as I am merely human]) that my writing has some . . . “weaknesses” in punctuation: it’s rife with commas, inundated with brackets, and is distinctly lacking in
exclamation points. National Punctuation Day is an excellent excuse to correct my oft-paralyzing literary Achilles heel—punctuation—and appreciate the scope and subtleties of the powers of our brilliant ally, the English language! After all, what were such marvelous tools as punctuation marks crafted for, if not our use?
I’d take it easy on the exclamation points. They’re downing jello shots to get the courage to hit on that martini-sipping ellipse at the bar.