In the spirit of National Punctuation Day, we thought it would be fun to check in with the JTW team on the 3Ps of Punctuation – Passion and Pet Peeves!
The JTW team is in lock step on their drive to do great work for our clients – but ask them about the Oxford comma and watch out! We have a very passionate group when it comes to the comma and it can easily spark quite the debate. An Oxford comma is defined as, “a comma used between the final items in a list, often preceding the word ‘and’ or ‘or’, such as the final comma in the list “newspapers, magazines, and books” (dictionary.com). Oxford commas are perhaps one of the most controversial punctuation topics. Whether someone is for or against them is completely subjective.
We surveyed the JTW team, and the results were close - with 14 people voting in favor of the Oxford comma, 15 against, and three voted as ‘undecided/sometimes’. Graphic Designer, Anthony Libonati, believes that “Lists of lists are why you need them. I’m 100 percent for the Oxford comma.” Whereas our CMO, Jen Sandberg, prefers to make a judgment call on applying the Oxford comma depending on the context and overall tone of the writing. However, when it comes to commas in general and their multiple uses, she sticks to her principle, “It’s better to over-comma than under-comma.”
Punctuation can also bring out the passion in folks when discussing their biggest pet peeves. With a nickname like RPJ (for “Red Pen Jen”), she has an uncanny knack for catching punctuation and grammatical errors in everything from presentation decks to restaurant menus and even published novels. Asked about her punctuation pet peeves, “Hands down, it’s the misuse of apostrophes. Its vs It’s. Your vs You’re. Their vs They’re. It’s enough to drive a person crazy! Ok, I’m just kidding about the intensity level, but come on, folks – let’s embrace the apostrophe in its rightful place.”
In the current age of technology, there are a lot of underutilized tools to help with punctuation confusion. These resources range from conducting a simple Google search, to more sophisticated software applications like Grammar Girl and Grammarly, which has a Chrome Browser Extension to flag mistakes.
In today’s age of everything moving at lightning speed, it’s important to take a second, slow down, and proofread what you’re typing before you hit “send”. Poor punctuation makes written communications hard to understand, and after all, how you communicate says a lot about who you are.
Check out this link to see the difference between a normal request and sounding cannibalistic. What's the silliest punctuation faux pas you've seen? Leave a comment below to share.