Nowadays, people seem to be more tolerant towards language. Punctuation errors, for instance, seem to be accepted more often, as understandability is believed to be more important than correctness.
Lynne Truss, the well-known author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, argues that the deterioration of punctuation standards is due to the Bolshevik printers of St. Petersburg who in historic times demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters. This would have resulted in a letter such as the one below, that could both be interpreted as a love letter or as a break-up letter.
I WANT A MAN WHO KNOWS WHAT LOVE IS ALL ABOUT YOU ARE GENEROUS KIND THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT LIKE YOU ADMIT TO BEING USELESS AND INFERIOR YOU HAVE RUINED ME FOR OTHER MEN I YEARN FOR YOU I HAVE NO FEELINGS WHATSOEVER WHEN WE’RE APART I CAN BE FOREVER HAPPY WILL YOU LET ME BE YOURS
This illustrates that understandability and punctuation are closely related. Jane, it seems, is punctuationally-challenged, as are more people nowadays. Truss’s goal is to remind readers of the importance of punctuation, as is the purpose of this blog post. She uses humor together with instruction to remind readers of the importance of punctuation.
Are you punctuationally challenged as well? Check out the solution here.