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It's Cool to be a Comma - 9/12/2011 -

Amuse yourself this month by participating in National Punctuation Day activities—and learn (or re-learn) a little something along the way.

By Carla Kalogeridis

Believe it or not, there is a day set aside to honor punctuation. National Punctuation Day, September 24, 2011, celebrates "the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses or periods, semi-colons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis.” (And people tease us that there’s an association for everything.)

National Punctuation Day founder Jeff Rubin is a newsletter guru whose publishing firm, The Newsletter Guy, has written and designed more than 1,800 company newsletters since its inception in 1981. Rubin’s newsletter for the Council on Aging of Santa Clara County (Calif.) won a bronze medal in the National Mature Media Awards in 2000. He is also a professional speaker on effective writing and marketing techniques.

The National Punctuation Day website features a button for each punctuation mark that provides an explanation of the mark and its correct use. Pretty handy for those lonely moments when you’re too embarrassed to ask a colleague to remind you how to use an ellipsis. There’s also additional punctuation resources (a recommendation of books and websites to help improve your punctuation), punctuation products (t-shirts, mugs, and posters), and suggestions on how to celebrate the day.

Particularly interesting is the website’s international punctuation contest, which appears to present a new challenge each year (last year’s contest was to write a haiku about punctuation and reportedly drew 356 entries from around the world.)
This year’s Punctuation Paragraph Contest challenges participants to write one paragraph (maximum of three sentences) using these 13 punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, 
quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once. Entries will be accepted at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com through September 30.
As the hectic fall season kicks in with planning, budgeting, and ad sales campaigns in full swing, Association Media & Publishing thought it might provide some comic relief to join in the National Punctuation Day festivities. Some time between now and September 30th when you need a little creative boost (or just an excuse to set aside the work you are actually being paid for), we’re challenging Association Media & Publishing members to rise to the Punctuation Paragraph challenge outlined above and send your entries to Carla Kalogeridis. We’ll publish a selection of the best Punctuation Paragraphs in the next issue of Signature magazine.

To add our own spin on it, we’re challenging you to write your Punctuation Paragraph about the industry your association serves (hint: this is an opportunity to embrace humor or to plant tongue firmly in cheek for a few minutes.)

Check the Association Media & Publishing website for more punctuation shenanigans this month and Sidebar weekly e-newsletter for fun polling questions about playing with punctuation.

Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing.


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