It has been said that you shouldn’t point out your shortcomings to others. They say that only you really notice them, and to a degree I adhere to this ideal. However, I strongly believe that the written word lives outside of that ideal. While I may be the only one to notice a tiny zit on my chin, my bad writing is painfully obvious to most people. As a reader it frustrates me when a comma forces me to pause in a weird place. As a writer I don’t know where the hell the comma goes! I know how to separate items in a list, but where do I pause? WHY COMMA SPLICE?! WHY? “Hey girl? Why don’t you just take a class or ask the internet?” asked Ryan Gosling. Well, Ryan Gosling, I’ve taken a class and asked the Internet, and it mostly made my head pulsate and my eyes all squinty. I’ve been more successful at picking up basic Japanese language structure than English grammar and punctuation! Domo arigato gozaimasu!
So, in honor of my incessant need as a 90s child to self deprecate (thanks Ross Geller)
I will gladly share with you the banes of my writing life; as I’m sure you’ve already figured out what they are by suffering through my linguistic ineptitude.
1. The Comma
Where exactly do you go? In my thoughts this sentence needs a comma. Where would I put it based on the way it sounds in my head? After “thoughts”; that feels wrong, but it feels right. Do you represent “and”? What the hell, man?! It’s too bad that I spent my school years making sure I answered review questions correctly; if only I’d focused on actually learning something.
2. Quotation Marks
I know you saw them in that last paragraph. Sure the name of the device implies its proper use, but English does make shit up as it goes… or maybe that would be me. Do I use them to quote Nixon’s, “I am not a crook.”? Do I use them to tell you about “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”? Do I use them to doubt the validity of a “thing”?
I use them for all of the above. Am I wrong? Most likely.
3. The Semicolon
The love child of the devilish comma and the (alright in my book) colon. I mostly use the semicolon so that I don’t forget about it. Am I doing it right? I doubt it, but I see you semicolon. I C U.
5. Thigh gap?
The rule on parentheses is to use them after I’ve used too many commas.
6. Syntax. Period.
I know that I have an odd language pattern; I’m just waiting for a linguistics professor to pluck me off a street corner and teach me the ways of word artistry.
As a “mature” adult I can no longer blame everyone else for my inability to be easily understood. I think hard about how to word things in ways that won’t sound like cryptic messages from an dying Sith Lord; and then the words just come out like the sentence that preceded that last semicolon. See what I mean? My name could easily be, “The things that come out of your mouth.”, or “Who even uses words like that?” It all makes perfect sense when I’m talking to myself.
In summary? WRITING! Writing is my biggest problem with writing. Grammar, syntax, punctuation, content, and everything that relates to sharing language gives me the willies… Perhaps that is why I love is as I do.