There is more and more impotent and arrogant punctuation cluttering up professional writing, email, and literature. Here is an example email that I received from a vice president of a Fortune 500 company. All of the different forms of emphasis are his.
Posts Tagged ‘punctuation abuse’
Overuse of parentheses (and brackets and curly brackets) is another rapidly growing (and bad) habit. It probably stems from the rising number of authors who have learned programming languages (like spreadsheets, Visual Basic, C/C++, Ada, Java, and HTML) where parentheses (or brackets) are frequently used to provide (syntactical and semantic) structure of programming code and organize (logical and mathematical) expressions.
Many writers overuse quotation marks to add emphasis, tone, or suggestive accents. While it is occasionally a good practice to make a word stand out, it is incredibly annoying when you make too many words stand out. If you try to raise the emphasis, suggest a new meaning, or add tone to too many words in a sentence, you muddle up the real emphasis and tone.
Misuses of punctuation can also add redundancy and clutter in any writing. Two examples in today’s world are the overuse of “quotation marks” and the overuse of parentheses (these neat little devices that let you slide comments into a sentence).