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FrankFrank ModeratorPosts: 6,363 mod
When I talk to people about the function of body language, sometimes I say it provides ‘the punctuation in spoken sentences’. The role of punctuation (the use of commas and full stops, etc.) in (written) language is often underestimated. Many people think these are ‘just’ marks to indicate where you should pause when you read, but they don’t consider these marks to be very important. Yet, if you change the punctuation in a sentence, the meaning of that sentence can change completely. The same counts for the punctuation in spoken sentences by means of body language.

I found a very illustrative example of the use of punctuation in a small booklet. Later I discovered that, in the meantime, this example is widespread over the internet referring to divergent sources. I’ll share it with you’re here. It starts with a letter from Gloria to John. This letter doesn’t show any punctuation at all. Try to discover the meaning while you read it.
Dear John I want a man who knows what love is all about you are generous kind thoughtful people who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior you have ruined me for other men I yearn for you I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart I can be forever happy will you let me be yours Gloria
It’s difficult to discover the meaning. You just don’t know when a new sentence starts or what emphases should be given. This changes completely when you add punctuation to the sentences. This makes it easier to read. Gloria's letter could then be like this:
Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy. Will you let me be yours?

Everybody, who knows how to read, can understand what Gloria meant now. So punctuation helps the reader to discover the accents and emphases. He/she now knows where to pause and where to stop. But that’s not all. What if Gloria would have changed the punctuation? What if she would have put the commas and full stops at other places in the sentences? As you will see, this would change the meaning of the story completely:
Dear John,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours, Gloria


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 30,477 mod
    This is a classic @lichaamstaal‌ and explains really well the importance of punctuation.
  • aryarchiaryarchi Posts: 864 ✭✭✭
    I just found it in google for those who need to know more.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,363 mod
    This is very interesting what you've found @aryarchi.

    I'll make a clickable link of it:
  • aryarchiaryarchi Posts: 864 ✭✭✭
    @lichaamstaal :)
  • ar.olivesilvaar.olivesilva Posts: 8
    great example
  • VivianaViviana Posts: 15 ✭✭
    The puntuation is very important to communicate between us.

    We live in society, we need understand what the others need, to help them and help us. An organization can't work without communication. A family is an organization. We are living in the Communication Era. So, Let's communicate us! (Sorry about my english, please correct me if I wrote bad..) Thanks!
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