The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

July 19, 2012

Punctuation can make a world of difference in meaning

Daily Star

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When you read, do you notice errors in spelling, omitted words, incorrect words or wrong punctuation? Many do; others don't until it's brought to their attention. You see what you want to see, and it's difficult and/or impossible to proofread your own work. One of my passions is reading books on word origins, usage and punctuation. Many of these books have examples of how to use words and punctuation correctly and include classic bloopers as well.

It's interesting to see how the placement of punctuation marks can completely and radically change the meaning of a statement. My all-time favorite sentence follows, and as you'll see, even though the words never change, the simple act of punctuation gives you two completely different thoughts.

A woman without her man is nothing.

A woman, without her man, is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.

Summer Reading

"The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids" by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher is filled with more than 100 ideas of family-friendly projects. From designing and planting a kid-friendly garden to picking and playing in the garden, you'll have lots of time outdoors. Then there's the preparation and preserving, and of course, eating your harvests. Instructions, photos and helpful charts are included.

While you're outside enjoying the summer, don't forget the barbecue. Our newest book on barbecuing is "America's Best Ribs." Ardie Davis and Chef Paul Kirk, experts on barbecue, have compiled a book full of instructions, tips and award-winning recipes to show you how to make them at home. There are so many varieties, it will take you a couple of summers to try them all.

Siri Bergman can't shake the feeling that someone is watching her in "Some Kind of Peace." Author Camilla Grebe sets her novel in Stockholm. Siri is a psychologist and when one of her patients ends up dead, her sense of unease increases. Her cat is abducted and when she receives a photo of herself from a stalker, she knows she'll be the next target. Can she figure out who is trying to target her before anything happens?

Children's Books

Hilarious advice is doled out in "What to Do If An Elephant Stands on Your Foot" by Michelle Robinson. If an elephant stands on your foot, try not to panic. If you do it will attract tigers, and if you don't stay silent, you'll attract a rhino, and if you climb a tree, well, you'll just have to find out yourselves.

Mr. and Mrs. Deer have always wanted a baby, and one day, a little bundle shows up on their doorstep in "The Baby That Roared" by Simon Puttock. The only problem is the baby never stops roaring. When their friends come to help and Mr. and Mrs. Deer return from getting what baby needs, someone is always missing. Where did everybody go? Why is the baby roaring?

Harry would rather be a dog than a little boy. He only wants to roll on the ground, bark and bite. So, his parents send him to dog school in Scott Menchin's "Harry Goes to Dog School." Do you think Harry will be a good dog? Or a better boy?

Revised Library Hours

Effective Aug. 1, Huntington Memorial Library will be changing evening hours. The library will close at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. All other hours are unchanged and are listed below.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at