Punctuation and ambiguity Copy

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Click on the Play button to hear a message from Anne.

There are lots of examples of texts which can be punctuated in more than one way, providing a multitude of interpretations.

I regularly post examples in the RedPen Editing Facebook group, and here are a few more.

Let’s eat Grandma.

Let’s eat, Grandma.

Woman without her man is nothing.

Woman, without her man, is nothing.

Woman! Without her, man is nothing.

I enjoy cooking my family and my pets.

I enjoy cooking, my family and my pets.

So, if nothing else, avoiding ambiguity is as good a reason as any for taking care in the punctuation of your words.

YOUR CHALLENGE

Re-read your own material, looking out for phrasing that could be taken two ways, depending on the punctuation you’ve used.

Watch out also for examples in other writers’ work.