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Old 09-20-2010, 11:46 PM
 
Location: in here, out there
1,656 posts, read 2,062,916 times
Reputation: 2073
Question Punctuation: why is it so difficult?

I'm posing this question: Why don't people follow standard punctuation patterns? I'm not referring to the complexities of grammar nor comma rules. I'm only interested in why some people insist on putting a space before a comma or period (full stop), and why some people refuse to use a space altogether.

This isn't a problem with a lazy space bar- it's a pattern that individual writers follow and I want to understand how they learn to write that way.

I was going to suggest that it might be due to regional influences. For example, people from England and Australia (and sometimes Canada) tend to have this problem. I'm not saying that the U.S.A. is immune to this problem, but it seems much less frequent.

The entire world puts a comma or a period after a word, then a space, and then more words. You can't go a day without seeing plenty of examples of where to put a comma.

Some examples of non-standard comma spacing:
  • I want to eat ,my dog doesn't ,so we go for a walk ,first .
  • It's raining , and I can't find my umbrella . I would use a raincoat , but I can't find it , either .
  • Commas,like periods,are tough to use .If you don't use them correctly , people will wonder if your space bar is broken .
Some people even like to use a combination of nonstandard spacing, a lot of time they do it and completely avoid using the standard spacing altogether.

I'm not talking about illiterate people. These are people who post online and presumably know enough to be able to read and write. They are able to use standard spelling and syntax, so why not something simple like where the space goes after a comma?

What do you think?
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:04 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
20,578 posts, read 17,107,802 times
Reputation: 28674
I think it's a simple matter of not knowing any better or not caring. I don't understand why people can't spell, either. It's a mystery.

I don't understand why some people make ellipses with commas ,,,,,,,, like this.
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 18,449,242 times
Reputation: 10077
I think that you have to set low expectations--very low expectations--for people who think that "txting" is real communication.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: in here, out there
1,656 posts, read 2,062,916 times
Reputation: 2073
I'm pretty sure that the problem isn't texting habits, nor laziness. I'm not referring to posters with txt habits, and adding extra spaces is not lazy. I'm lazy, and even I know that it takes more effort to add all those extra spaces.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:03 PM
 
26,181 posts, read 18,648,352 times
Reputation: 23325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles22 View Post
I'm posing this question: Why don't people follow standard punctuation patterns? I'm not referring to the complexities of grammar nor comma rules. I'm only interested in why some people insist on putting a space before a comma or period (full stop), and why some people refuse to use a space altogether.

This isn't a problem with a lazy space bar- it's a pattern that individual writers follow and I want to understand how they learn to write that way.

I was going to suggest that it might be due to regional influences. For example, people from England and Australia (and sometimes Canada) tend to have this problem. I'm not saying that the U.S.A. is immune to this problem, but it seems much less frequent.

The entire world puts a comma or a period after a word, then a space, and then more words. You can't go a day without seeing plenty of examples of where to put a comma.

Some examples of non-standard comma spacing:
  • I want to eat ,my dog doesn't ,so we go for a walk ,first .
  • It's raining , and I can't find my umbrella . I would use a raincoat , but I can't find it , either .
  • Commas,like periods,are tough to use .If you don't use them correctly , people will wonder if your space bar is broken .
Some people even like to use a combination of nonstandard spacing, a lot of time they do it and completely avoid using the standard spacing altogether.

I'm not talking about illiterate people. These are people who post online and presumably know enough to be able to read and write. They are able to use standard spelling and syntax, so why not something simple like where the space goes after a comma?

What do you think?
I'm with JustJulia. They just do not care. I find that appalling, because I probably care way too much. I do notice that I tend not to take lazy writers' posts as seriously as I do those who bothered to take the time to write correctly.

There's one poster I've come across...her post is usually all one sentence...like this...with ellipses...separating every thought she has and then she'll go on and on in a run-on sentence for a few lines putting together thoughts that really don't go together...and then...she'll go back...to this....
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Ogden, Utah
165 posts, read 200,204 times
Reputation: 276
Lately, I have decided to simply ignore such posts. Even I can help or have the perfect answer, I just don't bother replying. That goes for posts with semi-literate grammar, horrible punctuation or indecipherable meaning. It goes double for "textspeak."

If that makes me a curmudgeon, fine. Freedom of speech means I can be silent.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:41 PM
Status: ""My religion is kindness." -- The Dalai Lama" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: FROM Dixie, but IN SoCal
2,884 posts, read 1,998,816 times
Reputation: 2808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Raab View Post
Freedom of speech means I can be silent.
Uh, that would be freedom from speech, which is also covered... [Just teasing a bit!]
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:50 PM
Status: ""My religion is kindness." -- The Dalai Lama" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: FROM Dixie, but IN SoCal
2,884 posts, read 1,998,816 times
Reputation: 2808
In all seriousness, though, many people simply don't know (or perhaps remember) the fundamentals of punctuation.

A case in point is a friend of mine who is into self-published fiction. I've read his work, and find that he's actually a pretty good writer -- all except for his punctuation, which sucks big-time.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:25 AM
 
Location: in here, out there
1,656 posts, read 2,062,916 times
Reputation: 2073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nighteyes View Post
In all seriousness, though, many people simply don't know (or perhaps remember) the fundamentals of punctuation.
How could so many people have missed word-comma-space-word? It's EVERYWHERE! I wish Microsoft would make a program that could correct those errors.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
6,297 posts, read 6,906,116 times
Reputation: 1922
You're actually talking about formatting, not punctuation.

Something I saw from an Australian writer many years ago (back about 1978ish, so this was with a <gasp> typewriter): She always put two spaces between words, but NO space after any punctuation. Some old typewriters were actually set up to do this, tho I've only seen them in newspaper offices. I have no idea why.
"Bones! I! have! finally! learned! punctuation!!" -- Captain Kirk
.
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