National punctuation day

  • Click on the punctuation images below
    for information about each one.
  • Think an ellipsis is when the moon moves in front of the sun?
  • Celebrate 17th National Punctuation Day®
    September 24, 2020

There were many excellent entries in this year’s contest.

The judges had a hard time selecting one winner, so they decided to recognize 12 students from schools in five states.

To remind you, contestants were asked, “What punctuation error annoys you the most?” They were asked to find an online meme that illustrates the one punctuation error that sets them off, that makes them scream, that gets them into correction mode.

They were asked to e-mail that meme to NPD headquarters along with no more than 250 of their most clever, brilliant, dazzling words to make their case why this particular punctuation error not only drives them nuts, but also has occasionally transformed them into the punctuation police.

Every year we get a plethora of entries from students in Washington-Liberty High School (Arlington, Virginia) teacher David Peters's class. This year was no exception. Judges picked the top five from Peters's classroom, with an extra nod to Martha Hays, whose treatise on the Oxford Comma was not only clever, but educational. Who knew that more than one rhinoceros are rhinoceri? And, kudos to Benjamin Quinones, of Lincoln High School in Shinnston, West Virginia. He got off the best line of all entrants, reflecting his concern for the safety of hunters. It was subtle, but hit its mark with our judges. See if you can find it. The winners are:

Porter Davis, Canfield Middle School, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Aiden Good, Christ the King School, Rutland, Vermont
Benjamin Quinones, Lincoln High School, Shinnston, West Virginia
Keri Yanero, Lincoln High School, Shinnston, West Virginia
Baylee Marcum, Elysian Fields High School, Elysian Fields, Texas
Hailey Carr, Elysian Fields High School, Elysian Fields, Texas
Keely Goelden, Elysian Fields High School, Elysian Fields, Texas
Eva Nichols, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia
Krystyna Piccorossi, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia
Maddie Sims, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia
Martha Hays, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia
Rose Pinkert, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington, Virginia

The winning entries may be found here.

Winners will receive the usual assortment of branded National Punctuation Day gifts, including a commemorative pen, ruler, question mark-shaped stress toy, and bookmarks. Also, each will receive a copy of The Elements of Style, the Bible of writing style for more than 100 years.

Dumbest Sign of the Century, to date

National Punctuation Day

On south Western Ave. in Chicago. Sent by Joanne Archibald.

Rosine’s, Monterey, CA
Home of the Possessive Benedict

Sent by Ken Braly

Great punctuation video
from WABI-TV in Bangor, ME

Past radio coverage of National Punctuation Day®

National Punctuation Day KFKAGreeley, COThe Amy Oliver Show
National Punctuation Day WBGZAlton, ILMike Montgomery

сен24 Fun Holiday – Punctuation Day

Do you find yourself correcting punctuation while reading a restaurant menu? Do you see red anytime you see an incorrect usage of the apostrophe? Then, Punctuation Day on September 24 is your kind of holiday.

National Punctuation Day

It's or its? Punctuation Day encourages people to find out the appropriate punctuation.


Punctuation Day is the brainchild of the American professional speaker Jeff Rubin who launched it in 2004, and is also known as National Punctuation Day in the United States. The unofficial holiday aims to spread awareness and educate people on proper punctuation and the virtues of using the appropriate punctuation in any kind of writing.

Punctuation Conveys Meaning

Punctuation is the use of typographical signs, spaces and other mutually agreed upon symbols in a language that help the understanding of written text. The main purpose of punctuation is to convey the correct meaning and intent of the text.

Every language has its own punctuation rules and symbols – what conveys one message in one language can convey another in a different language.

For instance, in Greek, the semicolon (;) is used to indicate a question, while in English, it is used to connect two sentences that are close in meaning; or to separate elements in a series, where the series has a comma; and to connect two related sentences.

How to Celebrate?

  • Learn more about punctuation and the appropriate ways of using them.
  • If you do any type of writing in your job, spend some time going through your work and make sure your writing has all the appropriate punctuation.

Did You Know…

…that the hashtag or pound sign (#) is also formally known as the octothorpe?

Punctuation Day Observances

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See also:  Word families

It’s National Punctuation Day!

National Punctuation Day

I will bet most of my readers did not know this, but it really is!

From Wikipedia
National Punctuation Day
is a celebration of punctuation that occurs each year on September 24 in the United States of America. Founded by Jeff Rubin in 2004, National Punctuation Day simply promotes the correct usage of punctuation. Rubin encourages appreciators of correct punctuation and spelling to send in pictures of errors spotted in everyday life.

So to honor the day, here are some cartoons that make punctuation points.

And finally . . .
Which of the following “love letters” would you want to receive?


National Punctuation Day commemorates all punctuation on September 24th. A period, a comma, a semicolon, a question mark and an exclamation point are examples of some of the punctuation used in writing. They separate sentences and their elements to clarify meaning.  Without them, meaning would be lost or up for interpretation.

Across the country, punctuation events test skill, educate and even poke fun at some of those embarrassing errors.

The founder of the observance sends out a challenge every year.  Visit Jeff Rubin’s website to enter the contest.

  • FontFeed credits the observance with the revival of the interrobang.
  • Auburn Elementary School of Auburn, MI celebrates the observance annually.
  • CBS’s Live with Regis & Kelly mentioned the celebration on their morning television show on September 24, 2008.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPunctuationDay

  • Spend the day critiquing others’ mistakes. Or, carefully correct your own.
  • Determine which of your contracts for insurance, warranties, or service have a misplaced comma that might be to your benefit.
  • To avoid punctuation altogether, just complete crossword puzzles all day. They don’t use any punctuation.
  • Write an error-free email and send it to everyone you know. Better yet, write an email with a single error and challenge your friends to find it.

We all make mistakes.

While some mistakes we find humorous, some are costly to relationships or the bottom line.

Practice proper punctuation and properly post it using #NationalPunctuationDay on social media.


Jeff Rubin founded National Punctuation Day in 2004 as a way to promote the correct usage of punctuation.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!

Punctuation Day

Why does punctuation matter? Some people find inspiration in cooking their families and their dogs. Others find inspiration in cooking, their families, and their dogs.

Let’s face it, punctuation saves lives. It may sound a little strange to say that, but when you think of the effect that just the humble comma can have on the meaning of a sentence, it becomes readily apparent that there are some really strong arguments for learning to use them properly.

For instance, you really don’t want to say “Let’s eat Grandma!” when you mean “Let’s eat, Grandma!” The first means you’re suggesting you eat your sweet old granny, the second invites her to come dine with you, see the difference? Punctuation Day shares this wisdom with the world, as well as the wisdom of all the other forms of punctuation.

Punctuation Day was established by Jeff Rubin, founder of the day and organizer of Punctuation can be tricky for some people, those who struggle to know when it’s appropriate to use a colon, or a set of brackets, or even an ellipsis. You thought we were going to talk about the period, the comma, and the semi-colon?

Of course we are, but these are commonly known-about forms of punctuation, and not everyone knows that the world of grammatical structure spreads beyond these commonly used (though commonly misunderstood) forms.

Punctuation Day was established to help reinforce these lessons we learned in elementary school, and to reinforce their use and to show just how important they can be to ensure that what you write is properly interpreted as what you mean. That doesn’t mean that the world of punctuation is all peaceful and orderly though!

National Punctuation Day in the USA 2019

National Punctuation Day is an annual observance held on September 24.

It was established to promote the correct usage of punctuation in the English language. National Punctuation Day was created by Jeff Rubin in 2004 to emphasize the vital role of punctuation marks in written English. In the English language, the simple differences in punctuation can produce the sharp differences in meaning, that is why correct punctuation is so important.

There are two major styles of punctuation in the English language: British (logical punctuation) and American (traditional punctuation). They differ primarily in the way they handle quotation marks. The rest of the basic punctuation rules are essentially the same in all varieties of English.

Sadly, these rules are often ignored, which may lead to misunderstanding. Punctuation is as important as any other aspect of the written language. That is why Rubin founded National Punctuation Day.

National Punctuation Day is marked with special lessons at schools, contests, fundraisers, and other appropriate events and activities.

In 2006, Jeff Rubin and his wife, Norma, launched Punctuation Playtime. It is a program for elementary school students that focuses on reinforcing important punctuation lessons.

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National Punctuation Day

  • How important is that comma you were thinking about putting behind the white in “red, white and blue”?
  • How about the apostrophe that isn’t in the phrase “childrens hospital”?
  • An apostrophe, it seems, could be the difference between having one child or many.

Recently I was editing a photo caption and saw the phrase “Smith said his kids favorite part of the event was the snow cone truck.” I walked over to the student photographer who wrote the caption and asked whether Mr. Smith had one child or many.

The photographer wanted to know why. The word “kids” needed an apostrophe, I replied, and where I put that punctuation mark would change the size of Mr. Smith’s family.

“Wow,” the photographer said. “One punctuation mark can make a big difference.”

This exchange isn’t made up. And the fact that it happened in the same month as National Punctuation Day — which is Sept. 24  — underscores the importance of proper use of punctuation.

You say no one cares about punctuation? I beg to differ with you. When FiveThirtyEight decides to write about the Oxford comma, you know this topic goes beyond the copy desk.

By the way, the average American is “split on that comma,” says

On this day 24 September – National Punctuation Day

America seems to have a ‘national day’ to celebrate pretty much everything and as we write what you read on this website, we thought it fitting that we recognise the importance of punctuation.

So as I type, I'm more conscious than usual of my use and placement of commas, semicolons, question marks and full-stops, the latter inexplicably termed 'periods' in the distant land where this national day originates. And, incidentally, when did brackets become parentheses? These, and other punctuation marks, make what would otherwise be unintelligible streams of written consciousness into understandable, easy to read and digest sentences.

So we'll ponder the Americanisation of the full-stop while enjoying a Periodista Daiquiri and toast those educated writers who employ perfect punctuation with a El Momento Perfecto.

One such boffin is Jeff Rubin, who founded National Punctuation Day in 2004 to promote the correct usage of punctuation.

I wonder what Jeff thinks of the misappropriation of the humble hash sign? Perhaps let him and us know what you think via social media: #NationalPunctuationDay and #DiffordsGuide.

National Cherries Jubilee Day

Another unofficial American national holiday celebrated annually on 24th September is National Cherries Jubilee Day.

This is distinct from plain old National Cherries Day (celebrated in the UK annually on 16th July) as it particularly celebrates the Cherries Jubilee, a dessert Auguste Escoffier prepared to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

This excuse to get downright fruity is celebrated by making the famous dessert, typically with cherries mixed together with kirschwasser, flambéed, and served as a sauce over vanilla ice-cream. Delicious.

May we suggest you take to the kitchen to observe this national day and prepare a Cherries jubilee. Why not also mix up a suitable cocktail to accompany it such as a Hunter Cocktail; Cherry Alexander; Pop My Cherry; or even a Donna's Creamy'tini.

Happy Birthday, Gatsby Guy

Published when he was just 24, This Side of Paradise catapulted F. Scott Fitzgerald into fame, wealth and an extravagant lifestyle that earned him a reputation as a playboy and tainted his standing as a serious writer.

His next novel, The Beautiful and the Damned, was a pitch-perfect critique of what became known as the Jazz Age. But it was his final complete work, The Great Gatsby, that would ultimately be recognised as the definitive portrait of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald was born on this day in 1896, so today we're remembering him with a stylishly sour Fitzgerald.

Honda's birthday

On this day in 1948, in a Japan still reeling from the Second World War, a former motorcycle mechanic named Soichiro Honda incorporated his company.

Honda was, even by the standards of societies less conservative than pre-war Japan, a bit of a badass.

Born so poor that five of his eight siblings died in childhood, he left his small village aged 15 for the bright lights of Tokyo to become an auto mechanic, and proved so good at it he got to design racing engines.

A stint as a racing car driver ended after a horrific crash; a second crash, in which he drove a vehicle and three geishas off a bridge (all involved survived) persuaded Soichiro to go a little easier on the nightlife.

That said, after his first factory was bombed at the end of WWII, he made a living for himself distilling moonshine in a self-designed still, until the time was ready to start up again. Honda overcame not only the cliquey families that ran Japanese industry but the conglomerates of the US.

Soichiro Honda! We salute you. And we're toasting you with a Japanese Pear.

David Mellor resigned on this day in 1992

Happy National Punctuation Day!

Pay special attention when you write today as you end sentences, ask a question or share something in excitement. Sept. 24 is National Punctuation Day, so celebrate each time you use a punctuation mark!

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Often underappreciated, misused and misunderstood, punctuation marks are an integral part of any language. They add emotion and can change the entire meaning of a sentence. When used incorrectly, sentences look just plain ugly to anybody with the eye to spot errors. Unfortunately, many people don't have that eye.

Frustrated by the large amount of mistakes he noticed in the newspaper, newsletter publisher and former reporter Jeff Rubin decided to start the holiday in honor of frequently overlooked punctuation marks.

“I would sit at the kitchen table with my red Sharpie … screaming obscenities, which would upset my wife,” Rubin told CNN. “She encouraged me to find another outlet for my aggravation.”

So Rubin decided to start National Punctuation Day, which was born in 2004 when he secured a listing in the “Chase's Calendar of Events” reference book. 2010 marks the holiday's seventh year.

The holiday isn't just for punctuation perfectionists. Rubin told CNN he wants to help educators teach students that punctuation still matters in an age of text messages and tweets.

“We are graduating children from high schools now who cannot read and cannot write,” he says. “When these kids get out into the real world, they're going to be unemployable.”

  • So how does one celebrate National Punctuation Day? The holiday's website offers a few suggestions:
  • – Read a newspaper and circle all of the punctuation errors you find (or think you find, but aren't sure) with a red pen.
  • – Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words.
  • – Visit a bookstore and purchase a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style.
  • – Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator.

Can't wait to celebrate another holiday dedicated to the English language? Mark your calendars: National Grammar Day is March 4!

First published on September 24, 2010 / 2:00 PM

© 2010 CBS. All rights reserved.

Do You Know About “National Punctuation Day” (Sept. 24)?

To some people, punctuation is a pain in the asterisk.

Others regard the apostrophe, exclamation point and other handy devices as guardrails that keep our words from becoming a jumble of nonsense.

But to Jeff Rubin, founder of National Punctuation Day on Sept. 24, the symbols are necessities that do more than just separate sentences.

“Punctuation marks tell a reader when to pause, when to stop, when something is possessive, and when emotions are expressed,” he said. “Punctuation marks are guidelines that create sound in the written word. Without them, every sentence would run on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…”

Rubin, a former journalist who now runs a publishing business in Pinole, California, says he started the holiday in 2004 because he was concerned about the decline of language skills around the nation. The way we write — including the proper usage of punctuation — affects our appearance to others, acceptance at college, grades on papers, promotions and business deals, he says.

That’s why some writing instructors at the University of Central Florida stress punctuation in their classes, especially around National Punctuation Day.

“We’re going to honor National Punctuation Day by taking an adventure safari through the AP Stylebook’s Punctuation Guide,” said Rick Brunson, an associate instructor in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media. “I call the lecture, ‘Don’t Get Punc’ed By What You Don’t Know.’”

He said punctuation is not merely cosmetic; it’s essential to making meaning of our thoughts.

“Sentences are a train wreck without proper punctuation.”

“Sentences are a train wreck without proper punctuation,” he said. “Using punctuation properly is critical to successful communication of our ideas. If we want to be understood, we have to know what we’re doing with punctuation.”

Beth Young, an associate professor in the Department of English, said she will include a link to National Punctuation Day on her class calendar to help students understand the importance of proper usage.

She said her punctuation lessons focus “on rules that I could see students had not yet mastered, and on rules they had questions about. Usually, this meant lots of time spent on commas.”

  • National Punctuation Day celebrants at schools and other organizations, as can be seen on the website, celebrate with contests, baked goods, performances and other activities.
  • Rubin said he plans to observe the day with “a bagel with shmear and coffee for breakfast, a CrossFit workout, and a search for incorrectly punctuated signs.”
  • The Baker’s Dozen of Punctuation
  • According to the National Punctuation Day website, there are 13 punctuation marks commonly used in print.
  • Not necessarily in order of importance, alphabetically they are: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipses, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark and semicolon.
  • Other commonly seen marks in writing, such as the asterisk, hashtag, slash “and their ilk are symbols that provide no insight into the thoughts of the writer or the meaning of his or her words,” Rubin said.

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