Gram and Imma on Punctuation
Imma: “Punctuation is a tool. Yes, there are rules, but rules were meant to be broken. Somtimes in life we use tools in ways they were not created for, such as using a bat as a hammer or a screw driver as a prying tool. Tools can function in other ways than those given in the instruction books; they can perform other functions in a pinch. The same is true for punctuation. Many great classics have what others might consider mis-used punctuation. The writer chose to use it in a way that he or she felt added to the work.”
Gram: “Rules exist for a reason. Can you imagine if people were to place punctuation willy nilly wherever they wanted! Uniformity (rule following) allows us to know what’s expected of us and to read what others write. We need a normative function for punctuation just like we need a common language to communicate well with the people in our sphere.”
Imma: “I didn’t say throw the rules out! I just said don’t be so compulsive about it. Learn the rules, use them, but don’t sweat it if it’s not perfect or bending a rule enhances the readability of the piece.”
Imma and Gram are, again, both correct. Punctuation rules allow us to all speak the same language in our writing. However, there are times when bending those rules lends something new and exciting to the piece. If used in moderation and not just because you do not understand the rules of punctuation, it can lead to new worlds in your writing. There are numerous “punctuation checkers” on the web if you wish to double check your work. You can also find tutorials, but make sure they come from a reputable source. As always: when in doubt: ASK!