DRIVE-BY EDITING: punctuation & capitalization

Cheryl Hannah noticed this sign while waiting to be seated at a Vancouver Island restaurant. She was puzzled why the copywriter chose to insert a full stop after “We will be Pleased to seat you” but omitted one after “Welcome.” She was also puzzled why the copywriter chose to capitalize “Pleased.”

Family members, accustomed to her editorial obsessions, formed a ring around her so that she could take the photo without causing a scene.

Photo by Cheryl Hannah.

Semicolons: aids or affectations (poll)

Imagine. You’ve been captured by a plunder of punctuation-hating pirates and forced to walk the plank. As you teeter, The Oxford Guide to Writing and The Chicago Manual of Style clutched to your breast, the pirate king speaks. “The semicolon has no place in online writing!” he says. “Renounce your admiration for it and live!”

What do you do?

Take the West Coast Editor poll and tell us. Are semicolons essential aids to understanding—even in online writing—fulfilling a role distinct from that of the full stop? Or are they mere affectations, relics from our print-bound past?

Take me to your poll!

“The Apostrophe Song” (video)

In honour of National Punctuation Day, we present “The Apostrophe Song,” a song that aims to “put the apostrophe back in its place.” It’s a four-minute tuneful celebration of the greengrocer’s apostrophe—Drive-by editing set to music, if you will…

The song was created for Cool Rules, an Australian writing-skills training firm.

Words and music by Shaun McNicholas. Vocals by Gypsy Lehmann.