Writing reflects life and thought, my friends, and punctuation plays an important part. Yet, how like Nicodemus! There are teachers of grammar and yet so many do not understand these earthly things. How then can we speak of what we know, bear witness to what we have seen, and offer more celestial testimony? Facebook memes.
I jest, in part, of course, but the fact that Grammar Nazi is a recognized expression demonstrates how polarized English speakers and writers can be.
Punctuation is a funny thing. Some of it is now dependent upon style. Various forms are considered acceptable, even in more formal settings. At the same time, more rigorous standards may be set. Publishing houses have style books for those who write for them, and authors are expected to submit to them for punctuation, capitalization, references, etc. But publishers are not alone in the practice. Any company in a business with press releases may have an “in house style guide” in addition to a general practice embracing a particular style guide.
I won’t wax poetic on commas, although I’m sure some can, but I’m not sure contemporary literature can compare with earlier stuff. How much is punctuation taught these days? And I know for a fact that several things I was taught are actually common misunderstandings. It’s like Nicodemus: the teachers of grammar and yet so many do not understand these things.
Ladies and gentlemen, some people care about the proper use of n- and m-dashes. And, you may be surprised to hear this, but punctuation can make for some awfully interesting reading! I’ll probably post several recommendations (as I remember them!), including probably the best known: