The Angry Grammarian

Punctuation: music to my ears.

By Jeffrey Barg
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 1, 2008

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Has your National Punctuation Day hangover worn off yet? You haven't started writing it "hang-over," have you? Last week's NPD went off without a hitch, and we're all a little knackered.

But bless the hard partiers at SpinVox. They're the ones still dancing around drunkenly with lampshades on their heads and semis stuffed up their colons. (Ew.)

Still up on iTunes is their SpinVox Punctuation Playlist, celebrating NPD with what they call punctuation-related songs: "Comma Chameleon" ("Karma Chameleon," Culture Club), "Run-on With the Devil" ("Running With the Devil," Van Halen), "London Colon" ("London Calling," the Clash), etc.

"As the leading provider of voice-to-content, we understand the importance of punctuation for clear communication," says SpinVox co-founder and CEO Christina Domecq. "We came up with our very own playlist to get people to subconsciously think about punctuation while getting their groove on."

Shameless pandering to the crucial grammar vote? You betcha. And it worked.

For next year, guys, how about some actual grammar songs? AG and the Ellipses' greatest hits (see below) will keep that lampshade on your head for hours more.

I read your column on the use of "unique" as a comparative rather than superlative this week. I work for an arts organization and we faced the same issue when writing copy with the use of the word "intimate." We were told "intimate" is a superlative and we weren't allowed to use it.

"Most intimate" verboten? Good gravy.

True, the first dictionary definition is as a superlative. But the second, third and fourth all allow it to be modified.

If we followed only first definitions, a "prick" would be just a "shallow hole made by a pointed instrument," a "lie" would be just a British "lay" and an "asshole" would be just an "anus." And with the election just a month away, we're gonna need as many definitions for those words as we can find.

Hear AG and the Ellipses' greatest hits "Comma Police" and "Paws on the Clause" in the Angry Grammarian Podcast at

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