How does punctuation change meaning?

1 Answer
Jul 18, 2016

Answer:

Punctuation groups words into conceptual blocks (that is groups that should be viewed as a unit).

Punctuation may also be use to give meaning by inflection.

Explanation:

Example 1: conceptual blocks
Without punctuation
#color(white)("XXX")#The doctor said the mayor is an idiot

With punctuation version A:
#color(white)("XXX")color(blue)("The doctor said,")#"#color(red)("the mayor is an idiot.")#"

With punctuation version B:
#color(white)("XXX")#"#color(blue)("The doctor,")#", #color(red)("said the mayor")#, "#color(blue)("is an idiot.")#"

Example 2: conceptual blocks (from a popular book on grammar)
#color(white)("XXX")color(brown)("Eats")color(green)(" shoots and leaves").#
#color(white)("XXXXXX")#Description of the eating habits of a pandas bear.

#color(white)("XXX")color(brown)("Eats"), color(purple)("shoots"), color(orange)("and leaves").#
#color(white)("XXXXXX")#The actions of a criminal in a restaurant.

Example 3a,b,c: meaning through inflection
#color(white)("XXX")#You are ready to go.
#color(white)("XXXXXX")#Simple observation or statement of fact.

#color(white)("XXX")#You are ready to go?
#color(white)("XXXXXX")#Query.

#color(white)("XXX")#You are ready to go!
#color(white)("XXXXXX")#Well, that was unexpected.