Editing for punctuation
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Editing for punctuation. Clarify meaning and expression. “ Punctuation is a fairly recent creation (approximately 1500), originally meant to guide speakers in the oral delivery of texts written by others. ”. Cornelia Paraskevas “ The Craft of Writing: Breaking Conventions ”.

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Editing for punctuation

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Editing for punctuation

Clarify meaning and expression.


“Punctuation is a fairly recent creation (approximately 1500), originally meant to guide speakers in the oral delivery of texts written by others.”

Cornelia Paraskevas

“The Craft of Writing: Breaking Conventions”


“Aldus Manutius the Elder invented the italic typeface and printed the first semicolon. His son, yes, Aldus the Younger, declared in 1566, ‘that the main object of punctuation was the clarification of syntax.’”

Frank McCourt in the foreword to

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss


Read a paragraph out loud. As you read, note the punctuation and how it affects your oral delivery.


With a partner, examine your assigned paragraph.Create a chart with four columns:PunctuationPurpose ofAlternate punct-EffectMarkMarkuation markthe(Rhetorical(Choose fromchangenot the chart)would haveGrammatical)on a reading of the pieceThen select two pieces of punctuation and explore why the author chose that mark; select another mark he could have employed; and discuss and record how that mark might affect a reading of the sentence.Be ready to share your findings with the others.


“Editing is done to communicate meaning.”

Donald Murray

Write to Learn


Those old things over there in the corner are my husbands.

Those old things over there in the corner are my husband’s.


The committee consists of Mary Jane Sue Ann and Louise.

The committee consists of Mary Jane, Sue Ann, and Louise.

The committee consists of Mary, Jane, Sue, Ann, and Louise.


Don’t eat fast.

Don’t eat.Fast.


Private Property. No hunting allowed.

Private Property? No! Hunting allowed!


“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word count.”

Strunk and White

The Elements of Style


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