Punctuation is a funny thing. You can find plenty of ‘manuals’ telling you the do’s and don’ts of usage both general and contextual, but most of us develop an approach over time which may or may not be ‘correct’.
Grammarians (and writers) love to engage in heated discussions about usage but like all aspects of grammar, punctuation is ultimately about clarity. Which leads to the interesting situation where punctuation in its ‘correct’ forms is reducing readability for a lot of people who are more used to a simple sentence / minimal punctuation world.
No this isn’t a post about how new media is undermining our language! The way we communicate will always adapt to new technology, and in the case of text messaging in all its forms or in emails, it’s natural that you go short and simple. The amount of time we spend in these modes of communication naturally makes them the norm for many people.
If you find this thought depressing, then take heart from something I’ve observed about punctuation over the years… readers will tune into unfamiliar punctuation as long as there isn’t too high a density of it.
Occasionally I wonder what all us word-nerds would argue about though if commas did disappear from the language. 🙂