Rooikat Cottage, Clarens, Free State.

A local resident...

A couple of extra shots from the weekend; I still need to download quite a few.

Punctuation is an interesting topic for a writer.   Several authors have believed that it should be done away with completely, leaving the reader to grope through and find his own way.   All very modern, artistic and avant garde – and, to me, totally stupid.

I regard punctuation as the means whereby one can refine intended meaning, and get the written words to reflect the way in which the writer would want them to be read aloud.  Thus, every comma is important, and I do not hesitate to hyphenate words where they form a group-concept.   Apart from the obvious ones like a man eating crocodile in the restaurant, as opposed to a man-eating crocodile, there are more subtle shades of meaning like ‘He was much-maligned in the village’ or ‘He was much maligned in the village’.   One would say those two differently, and the meanings are not exactly the same.  The emphasis is on a different aspect in each.  To me, it is common courtesy to one’s reader to define the intended meaning as precisely as the written word will allow, and such hyphenation is one of the tools of the trade.

© July 2010 Colonialist (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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  1. lulekisizwe says:

    Aha! Found you, Col.
    Heh! Heh! Still going on about punctuation, hey… new space but same old Col *grin*


  2. I’m a child of the New South Africa, I suck at punctuation. 🙂


  3. cindy says:

    Incorrect, or missing, punctuation annoys me and will scare me away from the writer stop That cottage looks like a mansion stop I hope our errant tiger doesn’t spot that buck stop


  4. adeeyoyo says:

    This is off the subject, I know, but some time back you mentioned envisioning a site for authors to meet. I have found such a site,
    and wondered if you would like to take a look.

    To me, punctuation is important and necessary, especially in legal documents and contracts. Perhaps it can be left out in poetry sometimes. However if the poetry is dealing with something important to the writer then, I feel that the importance should be stressed by/with the correct use of punctuation.


    • colonialist says:

      Thanks for the link. I am going to try one of my poems from last year on it, I think – a sonnet.

      I think a lack of punctuation is laziness unless it stems from a desire to have a certain mystery and ambiguity in a piece. Then it works fine.


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