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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2007 / 26 Iyar, 5767

A Little Bit of Comma Sense

By Richard Lederer

Bill O'Reilly
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Are you confounded by commas, addled by apostrophes, and queasy about quotation marks? Do you believe that a bracket is a just support for a wall shelf, a dash is something you make for the bathroom, and a colon and semicolon are large and small intestines? If so, I'm pleased to tell you I'm about to be the father of a bouncing baby about mastering punctuation.

In Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation (St. Martin's Press), humorist John Shore and I present what we hope will be a hilarious portraits of American icons and connect each one to a mark of punctuation. We hope that while you're laughing your head off over the weird but instructional examples, you'll master everything you need to know about punctuation through simple, clear, and right-on-the-mark rules.

Punctuation can make an enormous difference in meaning. Which dog has the upper paw?: "A clever dog knows its master." "A clever dog knows it's master." The second sentence, of course. Why do so many people insert a squiggle before the s in the possessive its?

Which speaker beheld a monster?: "I saw a man eating lobster." "I saw a man-eating lobster."



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Note the effect of the missing apostrophe in this sentence: "The butler stood in the doorway and called the guests names." And in this classified ad: "Note the havoc wreaked by a missing apostrophe in this ad: "WANTED: Guitar for college student to learn to play, classical non-electric, also piano to replace daughters lost in fire."

Note the startling result of the absence of hyphens in this headline: FATHER TO BE STABBED TO DEATH IN STREET.

Behold the effect of the missing serial comma (the one that should go before the "and") in this book dedication - "To my parents, the Pope and Mother Teresa." And in this sentence - "At summer camp I missed my dog, my little brother, the odor of my dad's pipe and my boyfriend."

Now have a look at the difference between these two love notes:

My Dear Pat,
The dinner we shared the other night — it was absolutely lovely! Not in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine anyone as perfect as you are. Could you — if only for a moment - think of our being together forever? What a cruel joke to have you come into my life only to leave again; it would be heaven denied. The possibility of seeing you again makes me giddy with joy. I face the time we are apart with great sadness.
John
P.S.: I would like to tell you that I love you. I can't stop thinking that you are one of the prettiest women on earth.

My Dear,
Pat the dinner we shared the other night. It was absolutely lovely — not! In my wildest dreams, could I ever imagine anyone? As perfect as you are, could you — if only for a moment — think? Of our being together forever: what a cruel joke! To have you come into my life only to leave again: it would be heaven! Denied the possibility of seeing you again makes me giddy. With joy I face the time we are apart.
With great "sadness,"
John
P.S.: I would like to tell you that I love you. I can't. Stop thinking that you are one of the prettiest women on earth.

The power's in the punctuation, baby! The first letter is a clear (albeit clunky) profession of undying affection; the second is sure to sweep Pat onto her feet. The only thing separating one document from the other is, of course, punctuation, which can mean the difference between a second date and a restraining order.

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Richard Lederer Archives

JWR contributor Richard Lederer is a language maven. More than a million of his books, which have been Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild alternate selections, are in print. His latest work is Richard Lederer's Anguished English 2007 Calendar: Bloopers And Blunders Comment by clicking here.


© 2007, Richard Lederer

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