If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Importance of Punctuation

I received a friend request on Facebook from a young lady I work with, and who has a rather nutty sense of humour. So, being a genial chap and not wanting to disappoint, I clicked 'confirm'. I appended a message, saying "Hello, new friend". So far, so commonplace.

A few hours later, I get a reply: OMG how the hell are you my friend?

I think she must have sent the friend request while drunk and was now regretting her rash decision, so I replied: Well, you asked.

She replied: I did.

And then I realised the missing comma; and the difference between

How the hell are you my friend?


How the hell are you, my friend?

If I were still an English teacher, I would be using that today as a real-life example of why punctuation actually matters.

Oh no I wouldn't - I'd be in the middle of a six-week holiday. Ah well.

Men say women are filthy pigs.


  1. Boeing 707 on final approach - captain sees a herd of wilderbeest crossing the runway - he shouts "take-off power" and the co-pilot pulls back the throttles and the aircraft plummets into the bush.

  2. Or to paraphrase that which Lynne Truss might have written:

    Eats shits and leaves.

  3. King Charles walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off. Or something.

  4. @Nikos: The captain would call out "going around" to which the co-pilot would respond "full power" and push the throttle levers forward. The captain would then pull the nose up, co-pilot retracts flaps and undercarriage, and captain informs the tower via radio to advise that landing was being aborted because of the wildebeests on the runway and the aircraft was climbing and turning back into the circuit....I'll get my coat.

  5. Brian - no he wouldn't. He's shout 'take-off power', the plane would lose height, and then would crash into the plane from another joke entirely.

    I'm going to a dance. Send three-and-fourpence.

  6. Richard and Nikos - ok he'd shout take-off power. How about the trainee pilot asked by the tower for position and height "In the cockpit, 5'9", but what's that got to do with landing?" That joke was old before the Wright brothers opened their bicycle shop. :)


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