Beth Fine

Educational Fiction Author – Serious Thinker – Child at Heart

The Punctuation Police

I’ve heard of the Secret Police, Thought Police, Language Police and Fashion Police, but I had no idea there was an underground squad of Punctuation Police! My son-in-law follows and even posted to a site called Apostrophe Catastrophes where ordinary people upload photos of blatant apostrophe misuse.

Check it out—

Alas, in todays’ world w’hen rong is write and right i’s wrong, such a site informs me that I am not alone in my quest to spotlight our need to improve the most basic of grammatical tasks. Each of us has his own pet peeve, mine is documented in this very blog. Surely these errors are still corrected in today’s schools as they were in my day (and probably yours too)? Today, however, it may be up to the social networks to right these wrongs. Imagine a world where a person actually checks his spelling, punctuation and grammar before he puts his thoughts out in the ether, knowing that failure to do so could result in public shaming and infamy, as it once did.

Is this linguistic bullying? Not in my book. If you are abusing the English language for a reason, your purpose should be clear to you and to your audience. If it’s for creative purposes, it should be obvious to your audience that you “know better” and are choosing to misspeak or misspell. Otherwise, it will appear that you actually think you are correct.

What is your grammatical pet peeve? Everyone’s got at least one. You notice it every time it happens, and your attention becomes focused on this one tiny detail. What is it for you? Words pronounced with emphasis on the wrong syllable? Improper use of ‘s’with a verb conjugation i.e.  I “sees” you or he “see” me? Long sentences or paragraphs with no commas? Text-lingo in formal letters and emails? Do tell.

Whatever it is, I won’t judge you. Instead, I’d like to be the first to welcome you… as a fellow member of the Grammar Gestapo.



I, too, fall prey to the dreaded typo monster. As a writer of educational fiction, I certainly want to model proper grammar and spelling in my stories.  I trust that my audience will view written mistakes in my writing as an exception, not a rule. Do not hesitate to let me know; for instance, I’ve exchanged multiple emails about a simple semicolon.

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