But after journeying through the world of punctuation, and seeing what it can do, I am all the more
convinced we should fight like tigers to preserve our punctuation, and we should start now. Who wants a
blank map, for heaven's sake? There is more at stake than the way people read and write. Note the way
theWashington Post news story explained the benefits of emailing: it "increased employees' productivity
by 1.8 hours a daybecause they took less time to formulate their thoughts ". If we value the way we
have been trained to think by centuries of absorbing the culture of the printed word, we must not allow
the language to return to the chaoticscriptio continua swamp from which it so bravely crawled less than
two thousand years ago. We have a language that is full of ambiguities; we have a way of expressing
ourselves that is often complex and allusive, poetic and modulated; all our thoughts can be rendered with
absolute clarity if we bother to put the right dots and squiggles between the words in the right places.
Proper punctuation is both the sign and the cause of clear thinking. If it goes, the degree of intellectual
impoverishment we face is unimaginable.
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