Why punctuation matters

24 Jun

It’s one thing to misuse quotation marks and make yourself sound dumb. Often, the results are hilarious.

It’s another to misuse them and make yourself sound heartless.

Case in point.

For a story about Jackass star Ryan Dunn’s death, MTV found it appropriate to use the following for its headline:

Ryan Dunn’s Drunk-Driving Death Too ‘Common,’ MADD Says

Um, that way? It means that MADD thinks Dunn should have died in a jazzier, more interesting way.


And it’s an easy fix. For the better solution, get rid of the quotes completely, as “MADD says” is attribution enough. If you’re married to the quotes, simply stick another word inside them:

Ryan Dunn’s Drunk-Driving Death ‘Too Common,’ MADD Says

Just a little reminder about why those teeny commas, periods and quotation marks can be insanely important.


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