Punctuation and the Panda
A panda walks into a bar and orders a beer and a burger. He finishes, pulls out a gun, and shoots the place up. The other patrons hit the floor, the bartender dives behind the bar, and broken glass is flying everywhere. As the panda turns to leave, the bartender sticks his head over the edge of the bar and says, “What was that all about?”
The panda throws a wildlife manual on the bar, sneers, “I’m a panda. Look it up,” and storms out. The bartender thumbs through the manual and finds the following entry – “Panda: eats, shoots and leaves.”
The point of this little story? To illustrate how important proper punctuation is in getting across the real meaning of your written communications. After all, if a misplaced comma can turn a cute, cuddly vegetarian into a vicious, burger-noshing gunslinger, what might an improper apostrophe or a troubled comma do to your writing, maybe even your career?
Most of us haven’t thought about proper punctuation since third grade, so maybe it’s time to upgrade our mental punctuation checkers. Try a copy of Lynne Truss’s wonderful little book, “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.” Lynne pulls off the near-impossible. She makes punctuation fun, sometimes even funny. And her book is a great reference tool as well. Everyone who writes for business should have one, even if it’s only to have a laugh every now and then.