Watch out! Serial commas, errant colons, and slipped ellipses are on the loose; it is National Punctuation Day…

(We have to thank a friend on Facebook for pointing out this important observation to us. Yes, yes, as editors we should have starred the day.)

Award winning newsletter writer and teacher, Jeff Rubin, – a.k.a. Punctuation Man – established National Punctuation Day (NPD) in 2004. Rubin, who gives school presentations on punctuation and promotes punctuation play, has recommendations for celebrating NPD:

• Sleep late.
• Take a long shower or bath.
• Go out for coffee and a bagel (or two).
• Read a newspaper and circle all of the punctuation errors you find (or think you find, but aren’t sure) with a red pen.
• Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words.
• Stop in those stores to correct the owners.
• If the owners are not there, leave notes.
• Visit a bookstore and purchase a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.
• Look up all the words you circled.
• Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator.
• Go home.
• Sit down.
• Write an error-free letter to a friend.
• Take a nap. It has been a long day.

If you prefer to celebrate NPD more actively, Rubin holds punctuation day events. Last year, he sponsored a punctuation bake-off. This year, he is holding a punctuation haiku contest. Haiku is a Japanese verse form with a 5 – 7 – 5 arrangement of syllables. Submit your entry by September 30th to Here are a couple of examples:

Punctuate or die.
What is a writer to do?        
Good writers will know.

When my editor removes
My inflamed colon.