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Commas and lunch – my 24-year-old daughter brought up the “addressing comma” over our shared meal. The term was new to me, but not the concept, which I learned in elementary school. “John, will you make the tea?” In that statement, the speaker is addressing John. “Hey John, wake up, we have visitors.” 

Okay. Now I get it. I learned it so long ago that any term for this had disappeared from my mind. Now, according to my daughter, it’s something that needs to be taught to young adults. In the 1990s I worked for a chain of daily newspapers in California where the top editors said their big fear for the future was the looming retirement of my generation of writers and copy editors, who had learned many simple rules of grammar and punctuation while still quite young. Hence the rules stuck and still stick quite well. However, now the head is so full of living that starts to squeeze out some details. (Yes, that’s what they say happens to memory as we age. It’s all there, just slower to cycle back up.) Hence I welcome this punctuation poster.

On top of that, I feel enormously pleased and privileged to have a daughter who wants to discuss punctuation at lunch. Pretty darn cool!

The 15 Punctuation Marks in Order of Difficulty
Ever wonder why you can’t figure out when and where to stick a comma? It’s probably because commas, by far, have more rules and applications than any other punctuation mark. But why do so many people use the semicolon incorrectly?..