Quick Poll: Most Annoying Punctuation Mark

Writing a series on how to deal with rogue words was a lot of fun, and now I’m thinking of taking on punctuation. I’ve already talked about everyone’s favourite, the apostrophe, in a few popular posts: Night of the Apostrophe Ninja, Separating Siblings With Apostrophe S, and You’re Not a Yutz. Now I’d like to see if I can make other punctuation marks fun to learn about!


To help me figure out what to focus on, I’d love it if you could let me know which punctuation mark drives you crazy:


Please feel free to share any of your punctuation horror stories below, and I’ll do my best to write some tips that will help!


P.S. For those of you who are interested in learning about how art books are edited, I have an interview with award-winning editor Grace Yaginuma this week on the Editors’ Weekly.

36 thoughts on “Quick Poll: Most Annoying Punctuation Mark

  1. I’d certainly be interested in a comma post. I know where they’re supposed to go, but it seems writers are ditching commas, particularly after introductory clauses. Some say skip the comma if the introductory clause is three words or less; others say five words or less; and others seem to skip the comma no matter the length. ‘Tis a frustrating thing while editing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quotes are a good one, Maryann! I will see how I can work that one in. The style usage for quotes differs between North America and the UK, which is part of the issue. Marking this down as a topic, thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I suffer from an overdose of commas in my first draft (comma-itus? comma-kazi?) and spend most of the second draft removing those superfluous to my needs. For me it’s the semi-colon all the way. Every time I sit down to write I believe I know when to use it (to join two clauses that on the face of it appear separate but are actually linked) but find in practice I use them in the most inappropriate place (just like jokes).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I vote for comma-kazi. 🙂 I find the semi-colon is one where you’re always having to think about it, which makes it a true challenge. And they’re not even funny, so what’s the reward? 😉


      1. Yes, I have heard that advice to “leave out semi-colons,” but I don’t think they’re dead quite yet. 🙂 I’ll be sure to touch on that point in my series!


      1. Nothing really…I am sure my readers have a different opinion on that though…

        (I admit, I am an ellipsis and parentheses abuser!)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Commas are so tricky, especially because the trend these days is to go with less rather than more. Some commas are grammatical and some are stylistic, and it’s hard to tell the difference. Hopefully I can shed some light!


  3. I love semi-colons! I know I’m going slightly off track, but I generally have a problem with exclamation marks. I know that’s classed as ‘terminal punctuation’ and should be straight forward enough. I just overuse them. It’s a weakness! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Actually, my least favorite form of punctuation is the colon. I don’t like them in the middle of sentences. For some reason, they stop me cold when I’m reading. I’d much rather use a dash or ellipsis or comma. I’d be interested in reading about their proper usage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I voted for the hyphens. I find myself looking up words to see if they’re hyphenated a lot. Currently, I’ve been trying to scale back on my use of exclamation points. I just get so darn excited!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, puleeeze make it a series, Sue. I have punctuation charts glued to the walls of my writing cubicle. I’m forever going back to check on rules–and obviously rules that aren’t sticking as solidly as I’d like.
    You have a way of creating nifty memory techniques, or embedding the boring into a chuckling story. It’s the edutainment I adore.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Commas most definitely, especially for regional difference for things like “square quotes(,)”(,), when to ax them for clarity, and how consistent the use of the Oxford comma needs to be. 😀 Looking forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

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