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Opinion editor Peyton Hamel funds the punctuation police and begs people to use commas correctly.

Editor's Note: This column is a satire. Additionally, punctuation edits were made to correct the column.

The noun "editor" has a root (or stem) word of "edit." Anything else is a suffix, "-or" being a derivational suffix. I am an editor. So, I edit stuff. A lot of stuff. I've been editing said "stuff" for two years now. At this point, it's a straight-up habit to edit everything I read. I am at the point where I'm annoying myself because I am editing the work more than reading it. I'm analyzing the style more than digesting the content. (Someone, please, put me out.)

I would really like to enjoy an article, column, news piece, book or anything with words on it without finding myself editing it. I can never tell if I'm excited or disappointed to find a mistake. The first being, "Nice. I'm good at my job," or "Dang it... I'm disappointed no one caught that. Poor writer. I don't want to say that's embarrassing, but..." 

Such edits range from spelling, grammar, punctuation, parallelism, punctuation, content dissonance and punctuation. And punctuation. Is it a pet peeve? Yeah, it really is. I edit four to five stories every day (and read at least ten inside and outside the Daily) and find at least twenty punctuation mistakes. This isn't meant to criticize the staff. This is meant, however, to make every person who has written, ever, question their knowledge of punctuation.

I think we should introduce punctuation police into society. For my sanity. (And I swear if anyone says to "Defund the punctuation police," I'm going to lose my mind.) I'm going to run for Head Chief of the Punctuation Police and make it a federal crime to make mistakes using commas. Call my bluff.

College students, please review your comma rules. Here are some general comma rules you need to follow, or I will hunt you down and hand you a punctuation stylebook for which you owe me money:

Do not put commas between independent clauses. Please, put either a period or a semicolon. 

Example: I love correct punctuation, it makes me feel happy.

Correct example: I love correct punctuation. It makes me feel happy.

Do not put commas outside of quotes or quoted words. 

Example: People who hate punctuation may be called "punctuation police". 

Correct example: People who hate punctuation may be called "punctuation police."

We haven't had thirteen or more years of education to incorrectly use commas. Drives me nuts. I've seen so many of the same mistakes that I started to question my punctuation knowledge: "Am I the one who's wrong? Everyone else seems to be on the same page." On God. I've been super confused. 

I don't like being the "punctuation police" or the "comma hunter." It can be kind of fun, but, boy, oh boy, it's so aesthetically pleasing to see a written piece that's error-free. 

As President of the Punctuation Police, I will consider defunding my organization when people correctly use punctuation (especially commas). 

Peyton Hamel Profile Picture

Opinion editor and columnist Peyton Hamel is a junior studying genetics, English and kinesiology. 

Opinion Policies

Editorials are longer opinion pieces that are written by a group of community members recruited across campus who address relevant issues on a local, national and international level. Editorials are research-based. The purpose of the Editorial Board is to promote discussion concerning relevant issues in the community while advising on possible solutions. Topics are chosen via relevancy and interests of the members, which are then discussed by the Editorial Board in order to reach a general consensus concerning the topic or issue.

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If you have a grievance concerning the content or argument of the Editorial Board, please contact either Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel (peyton.hamel@iowastatedaily.com) or the Editorial Board as a whole (editorialboard@iowastatedaily.com). Those wanting to respond to editorials can also submit a letter to the editor through the Iowa State Daily website or by emailing the letter to Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel (peyton.hamel@iowastatedaily.com) or Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith (sage.smith@iowastatedaily.com).

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Columns are hyper-specific to opinion and are written by only columnists employed by the Iowa State Daily. Columnists are unique because they have a specific writing day and only publish on those writing days. Each column undergoes a thorough editing process ensuring the integrity of the writer, and their claim is maintained while remaining research-based and respectful. Columns may be submitted from community members. These are labelled as “Guest Columns.” These contain similar research-based content and need to be at least 400 words in length. The following requirements should be met: first and last name, email and relation or position to Iowa State. Emails must be tied to the submitted guest column or it will not be accepted or published. Pseudonyms are prohibited and the writer will be banned from submissions.

Read our full Opinion Policies here. Updated on 10/7/2020

(1) comment

Seymour Trout

It is NOT: "Am I the one that's wrong?”

It should be: "Am I the one who's wrong?“

When you read a writer who gets the little things wrong, you cannot trust her to get the big things right.

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