Hamel: The punctuation police

Opinion editor Peyton Hamel funds the punctuation police and begs people to use commas correctly.

Peyton Hamel

Editor’s Note: This column is a satire. Additionally, punctuation edits were made to correct the column.

The noun “editor” has a root (or stem) word of “edit.” Anything else is a suffix, “-or” being a derivational suffix. I am an editor. So, I edit stuff. A lot of stuff. I’ve been editing said “stuff” for two years now. At this point, it’s a straight-up habit to edit everything I read. I am at the point where I’m annoying myself because I am editing the work more than reading it. I’m analyzing the style more than digesting the content. (Someone, please, put me out.)

I would really like to enjoy an article, column, news piece, book or anything with words on it without finding myself editing it. I can never tell if I’m excited or disappointed to find a mistake. The first being, “Nice. I’m good at my job,” or “Dang it… I’m disappointed no one caught that. Poor writer. I don’t want to say that’s embarrassing, but…” 

Such edits range from spelling, grammar, punctuation, parallelism, punctuation, content dissonance and punctuation. And punctuation. Is it a pet peeve? Yeah, it really is. I edit four to five stories every day (and read at least ten inside and outside the Daily) and find at least twenty punctuation mistakes. This isn’t meant to criticize the staff. This is meant, however, to make every person who has written, ever, question their knowledge of punctuation.

I think we should introduce punctuation police into society. For my sanity. (And I swear if anyone says to “Defund the punctuation police,” I’m going to lose my mind.) I’m going to run for Head Chief of the Punctuation Police and make it a federal crime to make mistakes using commas. Call my bluff.

College students, please review your comma rules. Here are some general comma rules you need to follow, or I will hunt you down and hand you a punctuation stylebook for which you owe me money:

Do not put commas between independent clauses. Please, put either a period or a semicolon. 

Example: I love correct punctuation, it makes me feel happy.

Correct example: I love correct punctuation. It makes me feel happy.

Do not put commas outside of quotes or quoted words. 

Example: People who hate punctuation may be called “punctuation police”. 

Correct example: People who hate punctuation may be called “punctuation police.”

We haven’t had thirteen or more years of education to incorrectly use commas. Drives me nuts. I’ve seen so many of the same mistakes that I started to question my punctuation knowledge: “Am I the one who’s wrong? Everyone else seems to be on the same page.” On God. I’ve been super confused. 

I don’t like being the “punctuation police” or the “comma hunter.” It can be kind of fun, but, boy, oh boy, it’s so aesthetically pleasing to see a written piece that’s error-free. 

As President of the Punctuation Police, I will consider defunding my organization when people correctly use punctuation (especially commas).