Yahoo Punctuation Rant

Punctuation of the English language is an exquisite, albeit confusing, tool with which to perfect one’s pithy, powerful, and adroit prose. I assert, with some satisfaction, that, when it comes to grammar and mechanics, I am of the “Old School.” Yes, I enjoyed diagramming, or parsing, sentences when I was in elementary school. I adored the picture: a sentence’s blood and guts hung elegantly on the lines and angles representing its alluring skeleton. Alas, the sentence diagram has become a long-lost friend, and no one seems to understand the differences between phrases and clauses, both dependent and independent; between verbs and verbals; between participles, not left dangling, and gerunds. Because of this lack of understanding, “professionals” perform their tasks wrong, and no one cares. Like the hideous sentence, “Your student did their homework;” like the use of nauseous to mean nauseated, rules once steadfast have changed. What was once wrong is now correct, and I sigh.

I go to the Yahoo Mail page so that a student can access his email, and my eyes are drawn with horror to the cute little advertisement waiting for me there: confusing lists with misplaced commas and an actual comma splice right there in large letters for everyone to see.  With all the millions of dollars in the Yahoo coffers and all talent in the company, can’t they find someone who knows how to use commas? I suppose it matters not at this point. I love email and blogging and Facebook and searching the world at the snap of my fingers. I navigate away from the offending page and try to put it out of my mind. I read my blog and find (gasp) two actual typos. Oh, woe is me; I am part of the problem. Quickly, I edit and hope that no one is ranting about me.

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