Monday, February 04, 2008

Punctuation Grandiosity

I recently decided to overcome my disdain for people who do not use capital letters while typing. Next comes the elimination of all incorrect punctuation.

With respect to punctuation I am unyielding and serve as my own authority. The whole of my makeup as a dialectician with an unusual rhetorical sense, all my quiet conversations in the company of my thoughts, my practice of reading aloud -- all this necessarily makes me first-rate in this respect. For it is in fact an artistic feat to be able to transfer to the written page the cadences of speech, the pauses, the breathing; it is an expressive act that must capture something fleeting while it is on the wing.

It is especially with respect to rhetoric that my punctuation deviates from the norm, because it is quite advanced. I am particularly preoccupied with the architectonic-dialectical aspect, which is simultaneously clear to the eye in the proportions of the sentences, and to the voice when one reads them aloud, as rhythm -- and I always have in mind a reader who reads aloud.

For this same reason I restrict use of the comma, which puts me in constant conflict with readers of the English language, who in their well-meaning way insert commas everywhere, thereby disturbing any sense of rhythm. I also have my own way of using the period: In my opinion, most English stylists use the period altogether incorrectly. They dissolve their discourse into nothing but short, choppy sentences, but this has the result of depriving the logical element of the respect that is its due.

I want to see similar respect paid to the question mark, which most writers do not treat with the requisite restraint: In general the question mark is misused in a foolish manner, by being employed in abstract fashion whenever there is an interrogative clause. I often use semicolons and conclude with an omnibus question mark.

Do I make myself understood? And they call me a hack!


kevin said...

you mix; i'll pour

Gary Freedman said...

Kevin--please--anything but green beer!