Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Punctuation like you've never seen it before...

So my 'Culture, language and communication' lecturer started this afternoon's lecture with an old article from that paragon of virtue, the Daily Mail, on the subject of how students are getting into top universities without even knowing how to use an apostrophe correctly, wah wah wah. So far, so normal. Course, then he went on to show some examples of incorrectly punctuated sentences and then you're really paranoid 'cause, hey, the last thing you want to do is prove the Daily Mail right. Imagine.

Anyway, we also had to do the following exercise. I wasn't sure whether to post it as it's not my work, but it's all over the internet so I guess I'll just be next in line. I've copied and pasted from here to save typing it out myself.

So, you start by reading this love letter:

Dear John,
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?

And now your task is to alter the letter so that it's a letter breaking up with the man, instead. (Apparently a 'Dear John' letter means just that, but that's obviously a bit of cultural info that passed me by!) The catch is that you can't change anything except for the punctuation.

After a bit of deliberating, I did manage most of it. Here's the answer:

Dear John,
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?

Nice, huh? Just goes to show how important punctuation can be to meaning. Gotta love the cleverness, however geeky it is :)

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