The Power of Punctuation – Be aware! うっかり間違うと大変、句読点の位置に注意!

The Power of Punctuation - Be aware! うっかり間違うと大変、句読点の位置に注意!

Hello everyone,

I thought I might write a little on the importance of knowing how to use punctuation – especially the comma and full stop (period) can really change the meaning of a sentence.

Here are some examples with all punctuation in red:



1.Man finds inspiration in cooking his family and his cat“.

"Man finds inspiration in cooking his family and his cat".

Now if we read this we see the man is actually cooking his family and his cat, so let’s add some commas(in red) and fix this…

Man finds inspiration in cooking, his family, and his cat”.

Now we can see he is not cooking his family or his cat, but he finds inspiration in three things: cooking, his family, and his cat.


2. “Woman without her man is nothing”.

Now this one is a bit contentious, because I bet if we ask men to put punctuation into this sentence, they might write:

“Woman, without her man, is nothing.”

This means of course that a woman needs a man or she is nothing…

However perhaps women would write

“Woman: Without her, man is nothing”. 

This of course means the opposite to what the men might write and means”with regard to woman, without one, man is nothing!



3. This next one could save grandma’s life if we just add a comma…

“Let’s eat grandma!” 

This means we will actually eat grandma, but let’s place that comma well and fix it:

“Let’s eat, grandma!” 

There thats better, now we are only telling grandma we are going to eat some food – not her!

“Let’s eat, grandma!”


4. This one definitely needs fixing….

“Please use caution when shooting pedestrians using foot trails”. 

This means to be careful when you are shooting pedestrians on hiking trails – we don’t shoot pedestrians, so let’s fix this…

“Please use caution when shooting. Pedestrians using foot trails”. 

Now it means be careful when shooting “because” there are pedestrians around honking on foot trails.


5. I have never seen this kind of child, have you?

“This seat is only for disabled elderly pregnant children”.  

This means that the seat is only for children who are disabled, elderly and pregnant! Let’s fix it with some commas…

“This seat is only for disabled, elderly, pregnant, children”. 

That’s better, no it means the seat is for either disabled, or elderly, or pregnant women, or children only.


For our last one, here is a road sign you might see when driving near a school.  

“Slow kids at play”. 

What? Only “slow” kids are playing?  There are no fast ones? Let’s fix it… also with a simple comma:

“Slow, kids at play”.

 Now it means go slow because kids are playing around here.


As you can see punctuation is very important and can change the whole meaning of a sentence, sometimes quite humorously, so don’t forget to check it before you submit your work!



フルーツフルイングリッシュで英語表現の楽しさ感じてください 。初めての方には英作文添削チケット2回分をプレゼント。



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長く日英翻訳に携わっており、どうすれば英語として自然かをうまく説明できる人気の講師!間違うことを恐れず、まずは書くことが大切であるというのをポリシーにしています。 座右の銘は「Never be afraid to always try new things and places, and enjoy life to its fullest.」