5 frequently misused punctuation marks

Guess what. Problematic punctuation is ubiquitous. It’s also profoundly disturbing to a great many people. Here’s what you can do to help.

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I never knew bathroom fixtures and accessories could be so enthralling.

Yet there they were, breathlessly announcing their presence at the far end of aisle 26 in the big box hardware store:

Soap Dish!
Shower Caddy!
Toilet Paper Holder!

This was on the packaging. The guts, the passion, the unfettered revelry—these seemingly mundane items were just waiting to erupt in exultation.

Seriously (for now), an exclamation point on each of these? Hard to fathom. Now, the opposite might warrant such alarm—in one case, at least:

No toilet paper holder!

OK, OK, I’ll get to the instructive stuff soon. Sorry, but I was on a roll.

Punctuation has become a casualty of modern “writing.” Simply put, most people just guess at how to use most common punctuation marks and are completely at sea when it comes to ellipses and such. Even question marks crop up in weird places, and the poor apostrophe and comma get dropped into words and sentences like chocolate chips into cookie dough—and to far less gratifying effect.

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