“After eating my siblings and I left the table.” “After eating, my siblings and I left the table.” That changes things doesn’t it?
Now I love my siblings, preferable without a side of fries. I also love to play with words. The marrying of simple nous and verbs and other strange technical babbling can bring someone to tears or give them a great belly laugh. Words can make you think, change your opinion or show you the truth. Unless . . . .
Ill spoken, or written, words will achieve nothing. Except perhaps to fill up space on a page. Even well written words can only have a life if they are read. It is a relationship, a marriage if you will, between the writer and the reader. It may only last a few seconds or a few minutes but it can be intense and fulfilling. However . . .
The words may be perfection but their arrangement may be skewed. If you have to reread a sentence several times to understand it’s meaning then, perhaps, it is not arranged correctly. Punctuation helps to guide us through the words in order to make sense of them. And we could all use a little more sense.
I was never taught grammar in school. As a child I read voraciously and I had parents who would not accept slang. I either spoke correctly or I went hungry. Ok, it wasn’t that bad. I learned by example. In school I was put into an advanced group for reading because it was thought I understood the mechanics of the English language, I did not. Oops.
I use punctuation to make the sentences make sense to me. I do it by ear. As a writer I also, sometimes intentionally, do not follow the rules. Especially when writing poetry, there is a rhythm, a cadence that is important. But also as a writer it is important to be understood.
I once asked the question: “. . . if no one reads your words do they matter?” The answer is yes! Even if it’s only to me.