In Praise of the Humble Comma

Topics: Typography, Punctuation, Question mark Pages: 2 (639 words) Published: June 20, 2013
I choose the essay ‘In Praise of the Humble Comma’ for our book Refining Reading Writing. This essay mainly talked about the punctuation. The author lists the variety meaning and usage of different punctuation in different cultures and languages. In the essay, author provides many examples to show punctuation to us.

In paragraph 4, there’s an example I quote is “the hot-blooded Spaniard seems to be revealed in the passion and urgency of his doubled exclamation points and question marks (“¡Caramba! ¿Quién sabe?”), while the impassive chinese traditionally added to his so-called inscrutability by omitting directions from his ideograms.” (Iyer, 1988) Actully it catains two examples in this sentence, spanish and chinese, also this is why I quote this sentence. Chinese is my mother language, but I really don’t understand author’s point of this chinese example. Maybe cause it’s my mother language I don’t know the exactly chinese gramma. Because I can speak it out natually without thinking the gramma. What I want to say is the other part of my quotation, the spanish part. I know a little spanish , I found there’re always two punctuations when it means exclamation and question. I search it online and I found it nothing sepcial meaning within the two punctuations. Just as the author says in the first sentence of this paragraph “Punctuation thus becomes the sighnature of cultures.” Moreover in different languages there’re tons of distinguishing ways to use punctuations.

Then for my long quote is in the last paragraph, “Only a lover notices the small things: the way the afternoon light catches the nap of a neck, or how a strand of hair slips out from behind an ear, or the way a finger curls around a cup. And no one scans a letter so closely as a lover, searching for its small print, straining to hear its nuances, its gasps, its sighs and hesitations, poring over the secret messages that lie in every cadence. The difference between ‘Jane (whom I adore)’ and ‘Jane, whom...

Cited: Iyer, P. (1988). In Praise of the Humble Comma. Time, 80.





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