Consistent punctuation oddities

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 28 14:39:42 UTC 2008

At 9:28 AM -0400 4/28/08, Grant Barrett wrote:
>Does anyone know of any work that has been done on the consistent
>nonstandard use of punctuation? Two not-so-rare usages come to mind.
>1. Space before periods and commas rather than after. "Money ,that
>devil substance ,is like heaven to some people .They have no idea what
>hell is like ." Made up example, though I see this sort of thing in
>emails to the radio show that I'm reluctant to quote here without the
>correspondents' permission.
>2. Using commas instead of apostrophes. "I,ve done extensive research
>but I,m looking for the actual law." Real example posted today to my
>web site
>What most interests me is if there's any kind of rationalization for
>this punctuation. Did they teach themselves to type and that's the way
>they've always done it? Do they think it looks better? Are they typing
>on a foreign keyboard? Are they unaware that it's different than the
>way most people do it? Something else?
The latter may not be a practice, but a formatting "translation", not
necessarily involving a foreign keyboard.  Smart single quotes will
sometimes be automatically transmuted into commas willy-nilly, so no
intention may be involved on the part of the writer.  I have no idea
what's going on in the former case.


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