Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Questions for National Punctuation Day

 How's your punctuation?


Do you know what quotation mark benches are for? 


Have you made your peace with apostrophes?


Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: You refer to apostrophes here but then you show a question mark. That's confusing. 

Sorry, Eddie. I'm just trying to introduce National Punctuation Day, which is on September 24th. 

Eddie: It's best to begin with a picture of me.

Here's the (inevitable) picture of you.

Eddie: I notice that you've used parentheses here.

Yes. As regular readers of Benchsite will know, I'm very fond of good grammar and correctly-used punctuation. 

His Excellency, one of my husbands: This looks like it's going to be a heavy punctuation crossing.


Tamsin, a local girl who works in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy:  I've never understood punctuation. I have a lot of questions about it. 


Well, then you're like lots of people, Tamsin. That's what National Punctuation Day is for. 

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: Do we really need a whole day for it? I'd have thought a minute or two would do.

There's a lot of punctuation to get through, Lord B. There's the colon and the semi-colon and hyphens and exclamation points and ellipsis . . .

Eddie: And of course the question mark, which is often used incorrectly.


His Excellency: I see you are illustrating this with a cross-section of the public.

Lord Brassica: He doesn't look cross to me. He looks like a topnotch chap.

Eddie: This is President Obama, my long-standing friend.

Lord Brassica: Really? How long has he been standing?

Tamsin: Is it ok to stand on a bench with a question mark on your head?


Lord Brassica: Of course not. Standing on furniture is always bad manners what?

You can't have a question mark here, Lord B because the word 'what' is not a question in this context. 

Lord Brassica: I can jolly well have a question mark wherever I please. If Her Majesty doesn't bestow one on me, I am in a position to purchase one. Harrods do a nice line in question marks I'm told. 

Maybe we should have some Q&As.  

Lord Brassica: In my day it was Ps and Qs. You had to mind them or you'd get a clip around the ear. 

Let's just stick with the and then.


Lord Brassica: This is the kind of hour-glass figure I enjoy seeing on the female form. My wife has a figure like this. 

Punctuation please. 

His Excellency, my husband: There are different levels of punctuation. I, of course, am highly conversant to the highest level of the Punctuation Pyramid.


May I quote you on that?


Some people are sticklers for punctuation. The self-confessed punctuation geek Lynne Truss had a hit in 2004 with a book about punctuation.  

Tamsin: I know that joke: a panda bench walks into a restaurant. 


He orders a bamboo sandwich and he eats shoots and leaves.

Eddie: No. A panda walks into a restaurant . . . 


Golly, Eddie, this is some panda bench!

Tamsin: These pandas are soooooo cute!

His Excellency: This is a Panda Banquette.

Eddie:  I'll start again.

A panda banquette walks into a restaurant and orders a sandwich, after which he takes out a gun, fires two shots into the air, and exits. 

In other words, he eats, shoots and leaves.

Lord Brassica: I'd have that blighter arrested if he's going to fire a gun in restaurants. 

Tamsin: I guess he didn't like the sandwich? 

You're missing the point. Whether that panda is bamboo-eating or gun-toting all depends on a single comma. 

Tamsin: I love cuddly pandas but I make lots of mistakes in punctuation.

Eddie: As a professional editor I advocate a Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

His Excellency: The Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa argued that even to have touched the feet of Christ is no excuse for mistakes in punctuation. 

I think you'd better find a bench and do your punctuation sudoko.


Lord Brassica: Good heavens! I don't think we had all this when I was at school.

Of course you did. Punctuation has been around as long as written language.

Tamsin: We had it. My school was a Centre of Excellense. 

Eddie: This would be a good opportunity to show a pencil bench.


Good point, Eddie. You're very sharp.

Eddie: Yes. I'm the Keeper of the Apostrophe.

And I'm the Queen of Commas. 

Tamsin: What exactly is a comma?

Here's a little verse to help you remember:

A cat has claws at the ends of its paws.
A comma's a pause at the end of a clause.

Tamsin: Cats are so cute and fluffy! 

Lord Brassica: What's all this nonsense about cats? I've got milking to do. Let's bring this chat to a stop. 

A full stop? 

Eddie: How do you feel about fullstop benches?

This is not a sentence so there is no reason whatsoever that it should have a fullstop. 

Eddie: You're ok with the capital B though. 

Of course. Capital letters are for proper nouns. 

Lord Brassica: In my house hounds behave quite properly.

I said NOUNS

Eddie: You're getting quite worked up, Seashell. 

You need a coffee break.

No, I want to finish the punctuation benches. 

My husband, His Excellency: It's unlikely that you will find a bench to illustrate each of the marks of punctuation. You'll soon come to a fullstop.


I'll be fine. I have plenty of benches stacked up.

photo by Sheila B

His Excellency: That's what I'm afraid of. I'm getting bored.

Go back to your bench and wait then, please. 

His Excellency: I'd like to make it clear that this is not me. 

Tamsin: Poor chap, I wonder how long he's been waiting? 

Eddie: According to the punctuation on the sign, this is just one husband's bench. It's not a bench for all husbands.

True. This is the catastrophe of the apostrophe. 

Lord Brassica: This chap looks chilly. He wants taking down to the Duck and Dog Collar for a Ploughmans and a warming pint. 

Is that Ploughman's belonging to one ploughman or Ploughmans' belonging to all who plough? Just asking.

Eddie: Unless this bench belongs to just this one husband, it's not properly punctuated. 

The same with this guy's bench:


Tamsin: So are you saying I can't sit on this bench because I'm not a guy?

Eddie: No one can sit on it, except a guy named Guy. It's Guy's bench.

If it's for other guys, it would need different punctuation. 

Eddie: Or indeed no punctuation at all. 

Tamsin: Wow, I'm getting more and more confused. My head is full of questions.


OK, Tamsin, tell me your three favourite things.

Tamsin: I like cooking babies and puppies. 

Lord Brassica: Cooking babies? That's not so bad. But cooking puppies! What kind of monster are you?

I think you mean you like cooking, babies, and puppies.   

Tamsin: That's what I said. 

Lord Brassica: I can't see what all the fuss is about. I didn't get where I am today by knowing where to put a semi-colon. 

Well, excuse me, Lord B, you got where you are through inherited wealth. Drizzly Manor is inherited.

Lord Brassica: Is it? By jove, I guess it is. 

As is Castle Broccoli. 

His Excellency: The words 'entitled' and 'twit' come to mind.

Lord Brassica: That was my great grandfather: Manley Randolph Godfrey de Puking Entwit. 

Eddie: I've looked him up.

The Scholars, Gabriel Ritter von Max 

Eddie: He was known as De Puking Entitled-Twit.  

Tamsin: So hyphenated words have a hyphen? 

Yes, it's only non-hyphenated words that don't have a hyphen.

His Excellency: I note an irony in the spelling of the words hyphenated and non-hyphenated. 

Lord B: I still don't see why we need spelling. Or punctuation.   

Because meanings change where punctuation is not used properly. 

my photo, Wiltshire

Eddie: Shouldn't Starbucks have an apostrophe? 

His Excellency: This isn't Starbuck's. This is St. Arbuck's, a different thing altogether. 

Eddie: Their cappuccino is excellent. 

Either way, you need an apostrophe to make the meaning clear. Here's another example for you: 


Lord Brassica: My own polo ponies drive rather faster than most. One of them has six penalty points for speeding. 

Tamsin: Ohhhhh, I LOVE ponies! 

Here's another sign for you from the drive-through safari park. 

Lord Brassica: Quite. You don't want elephants roaming free. They're much safer in cars.  

His Excellency: I think you'll find this is the imperative form in which the 'you' is implied. 

Lord Brassica: I don't want a ruddy elephant in my Land Rover. I've already got a cow and a couple of dogs in there. 

My horse Tonks has to ride in the carriage.

Let's try again. 


Lord Brassica: Good Lord. What sort of people eat their ancestors? 

Not to put too fine a point on it, punctuation saves lives. 

Eddie: Speaking of points, in some places the fullstop is known as a period. It goes at the end of a sentence. 

Unless the sentence is a question. 


Tamsin: This cat is sooooo cute!

His Excellency: Punctuation is quite straightforward; I hope you're not going to bore us with a lesson. 

Good use of the semi-colon here, HE.


Tamsin: Oh, I know this one! It's the winky face! ;

His Excellency: No. Just NO.  


Lord Brassica: What on earth is going on here? Polo ponies. Winky faces. This discussion is making me feel quite befuddled. I suppose you're going to say there's a punctuation mark for that? 

Indeed there is, Lord B. This is the interrobang. It's a combination of an exclamation and a question.

Tamsin: I love little squiggles like this!  lol  What am I like?!   

Well, done, Tamsin. This is proper use of the interrobang. 

Tamsin:  Punctuation is brill!!!! I think I've nailed it!!!! 


His Excellency: You haven't. Multiple exclamation points are always incorrect. They should only be used in situations of extreme excitement, for example a 30th birthday party.


Tamsin: Parties are fab!!! I go to as many as I can!!!

Eddie: As illustrated here, the exclamation point is seriously over-used. 

I agree, Eddie. There are too many exclamation points around.

These days you can't find a bench without sitting on an exclamation mark. 


Tamsin: Snow is sooooo lovely!!!

Eddie: Exclamation points leave me cold. People are far too free with them.

Lord Brassica: Giving away things for free makes people lazy and lacking in motivation. Nothing should be free.

What, even air?


Lord Brassica: I personally can afford all the air I need, and for that matter, all the punctuation. I'd like to see people pay for punctuation if they need it. 

His Excellency: What price the exclamation point?

Lord Brassica: About £3.75 I think.  

Tamsin: Golly, I've run up quite a bill!!!!!  

Eddie: We're not making much progress. Punctuation Day is going to be here before we've finished. 

Tamsin: Punctuation isn't very sexy, is it?

It depends, Tamsin. I've seen some rather racy correspondence about quotation marks.


His Excellency: And then there's the Comma Sutra . . . 


I hope they're practising safe text. 

Eddie: An illustration from The Joy of Punctuation is more than I can bear. 

OK, let's move on. I want to show you what happens when punctuation goes bad.


Lord Brassica: This German comma chap seems to have run amuck, as Europeans are wont to do. 

His Excellency: Do the words British and Empire mean anything to you?

Eddie: As editor-in-chief of this post I suggest we avoid politics.

My bêtes noir is the comma splice, that's where independent clauses are joined by a comma, it's a thing that happens a lot these days, it's really irritating it doesn't make any sense, and I wish it would stop. 


His Excellency: This is an excellent example, Seashell. The three ways of avoiding the comma splice are . . .

Sorry, HE, this isn't a punctuation lesson. We're not at Oxford, you know. 

His Excellency: I personally dislike the Oxford comma even though I went to Oxford.


I disagree. The Oxford Comma has its place. And so does good grammar. 

many online sources

Lord Brassica: Never saw a dog! By jove that's an unlucky girl.

Tamsin: Never smiled. She must have been miserable.

Lord Brassica: Why couldn't someone just show this poor woman a dog?

This is called an amphiboly; because of poor grammar, you're misunderstanding the meaning.

His Excellency: She couldn't see a dog without smiling. That in itself is a problem.

Now we need to tackle the most misunderstood punctuation of all - the apostrophe.

Tamsin: I know this place! They have really nice pastries!

Eddie: They make great cappuccinos.

We're talking about punctuation here, not coffee shops.

Tamsin: Wow, this is fun!

His Excellency: Looks like we've got some way to go on apostrophes.

We begin with a simple fact.


Eddie: Let me make this clear:


The incorrect apostrophe is sometimes known as the Grocer's Apostrophe, as in banana's, lemon's, potatoe's.  

Here in Fribble-under-Par, Squeezy, our pet lemon, gets sour about apostrophes.

 Squeezy: The Grocer's Apostrophe shows no respect whatsoever for lemons.


Lord Brassica: I say, this little fellow doesn't look much like a grocer.  

His Excellency: It's a hedgehog I think. Or in the plural, hedgehogs. 

Eddie: How hard is it to just add an s?

Well, English spelling is quite tricky. People seem to have a lot of problems with plurals. 

Tamsin: A pre-loved baby? Does that mean the baby isn't loved anymore? 

Eddie: Cheekie. WRONG. And Monkies. Just WRONG. 

His Excellency: Like a multi-storey carpark, it's wrong on so many levels.

Tamsin: You know what though? I don't care about the proper use of apostrophe's. 


OK, Tamsin, fair enough. But you should know that the rogue apostrophe slayer is about.


His Excellency: Is it the slayer who's rogue or is it the apostrophe? Just asking.

Enough! I'm going to find a bench and sit down with this plate of cookeys cookie's cookies for Punctuation Day. 


Eddie: This is a clear case for a dictionary.

Lord Brassica: I looked up the word 'bench' in my wife's dictionary and I couldn't find it. 


Well done, Lord B. So fa, so good.

Lord Brassica: I have no idea what you're on about, Seashell. 

Tamsin: Me neither. I feel like my brain is upside down. 


His Excellency: I too am partial to some inverted Spanish punctuation.  

Tamsin: Do I speak Spanish? I don't think I do. 

There's no need to feel like an idiot, Tamsin.


It's easy. For the principles of punctuation, you just have to remember this little poem: 

The stops point out, with truth, the time of pause
A sentence doth require at ev'ry clause.
At ev'ry comma, stop while one you count;
At semi-colon, two is the amount;
A colon doth require the time of three;
The period four, as learned men agree. 

Tamsin: Do women agree though?

Lord Brassica: I'm not aware of any learned women in this neck of the woods. 

Present company accepted excepted, Lord B?

Lord B: I have no idea what company you mean. Fortnum and Mason? 

OK, we've covered commas, quotation marks, fullstops, question marks and exclamation points. Does anyone have any questions?

His Excellency: A philosophical question: is the exclamation point justified in the name of this seaside town in the west of England?


Lord Brassica: Westward Ho! When I was 18 I spent a jolly summer holiday there with my nanny! 

There are two exclamation points here, Lord B.  

Tamsin: Three pounds seventy-five each! That's ummmm . . . quite a lot of money!

Lord Brassica: This punctuation lark is all ruddy nonsense. I'll say toodle pip to you all and get back to my cows. 


Golly. If asked nicely, Lord B's cows are clever enough to close the gate. 

Now that's something to celebrate on Punctuation Day!


We're very literary here on Benchsite. A stack of book benches for World Book Day? We got 'em. Poetry benches? Yes, please. We even have Dewey benches for militant librarians, and a whole alphabet of Dutch benches. And there's an alphabet of dance benches as well. 

According to Alexander Henning Drachmann, Alexander Henning Drachmann is a charming, reflective and relatively young artist from the west coast of Denmark. He loves books, music and films but he hates most modern pop music and also opera. He loves films and documentaries and he's green with a capital G (so that's Green). He took the photo of the question mark bench sculpture at the start of the story, which he saw in Esbjerg, Denmark in 2006. I wonder if it's still there. That's not a question by the way, which is why there is no question mark.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/327122302/

The brilliant "You" seating is by TABISSO®, a dynamic French design company focusing on a new concept of high-end typographic lounge furniture. Typographia was inspired by teaching the alphabet in a township in South Africa. Their collection of typographic furniture allows you to freely communicate names, acronyms, or any personalised message by displaying chairs and floorlamps side byside. The set of chairs includes all letters from A to Z and numbers from 0 to 9, and the set of floorlamps covers over 20 punctuation marks.They were nominated finalists of best new product in a London design show in 2011. www.tabisso.com

There are lots of question mark photos on Flickr. One that caught my eye is the slightly out-of-focus green cube, taken by Rachel K. Rachel lives in a pretty swell place with her delightful husband, though she doesn't say where. They have good times. Rachel's photostream is emotional and personal pieces mixed with just plain visual diary entries, in other words, life.

Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. If you've seen much of Benchsite you will know what a problem Eddie is for me. He has ruined helped me edit the post about my swimming bench and the Blue Monday benches.  He interfered with stepped in to help with the Orange bench mystery. However, he has a habit of setting his own agenda with the benches. Look what a mess he made great job he did on St. George's Day . And as for my Red benches in February? No wonder I was very grateful seeing red. It's lucky he was around for National Insect Day though; his insect benches are buzzing.

Kevin Trotman is the Rocketeer and he makes brilliant fake industrial signs. His hometown is somewhere in Texas but now he lives in South Carolina. I wonder if they have Heavy Punctuation Crossing signs in South Carolina. No, I don't think so since The Rocketeer said he had fun making this using www.stclaire.com and PhotoShop. It's in the Punctuality Gallery on Flickr.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/kt/8741169/

His Excellency is one of my two husbands. He is a philosopher and a man who takes an interest in many subjects, apart from chemistry. He's particularly keen on poetry benches and also dancers. For more about my two husbands and their education see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/workbench-wonders-two-husbands-lots-of.html

Some people are just so clever and creative that other people take their stuff and use it for their own purposes. Such is Tsahi Levent-Levi, who made the finger face with a question. It's one of his many brilliant teaching and presentation photos which appear in all kinds of galleries and is, fortunately, available on Creative Commons.     https://www.flickr.com/photos/86979666@N00/7623744452/

Tamsin is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy. Ever a follower of fashion, Tamsin likes to try anything new. Fifty shades of pink benches? It didn't scare her. Tamsin has a French fiance, Garcon Orange, and a baby named Isambard Kevin, whose paternal origins are unknown. And she has a rather odd perspective on life, as shown in the post she helped me with about big and small benches. If you think size doesn't matter, you ought to see it. 

Tamsin and family

President Obama faced a lot of hazy questions in his time, which is why Raymond Bryson made a series of Obama versus, well, all kinds of stuff. Raymond Bryson's profile is empty but his albums are full of toys, animals and yes, quite a few question marks. https://www.flickr.com/photos/f-oxymoron/9647624750/

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, is a gentleman farmer here on Paradise Island. He loves his horse Tonks, his dog Pru,and his 1947 Landrover, in that order. He indulges his wife, Lady Jessica Brassica with a replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor, a beach hut on the Esplanade, and unlimited amounts of cash for shopping. However, it has emerged that he doesn't know as much as you'd think about farm animal benches, especially cow benches or sheep benches. He knows a bit more about horse benches, learned from his horse Tonks, and possibly something about dog benches from his dog Pru. What he really knows though, is picnic benches

The question mark sculpture person is from the Florence Exhibition of sculptor Jean-Michel Folon.It was photographed by Marco Bellucci in 2005  https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/

We can't do punctuation without reference to the lovely ampersand. Ampersand/Needle is a photograph showing detail of Roy McMakin's sculpture Love & Loss in Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park. The neon object above is the ampersand from the sculpure, which uses various shapes - including a tree trunk, a concrete bench and a tiny artificial pond - to spell out the title Love & Loss. Edgeplot was there to photograph it in 2007. https://www.flickr.com/photos/edgeplot/364284317/

Lady Jessica Brassica is a fashionista and former model with Studio Joop from Overbearing in Holland. Now she has her own fashion house at Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland. She loves shopping at her replica mall and having poetry read by Young Male Readers dot com. She is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly but last summer Lady Jess  spent rather a lot of time at her beach hut with Troy

Tom Barrett is a Year 5 classroom teacher, ICT Subject Leader and Assistant Headteacher in a large primary school in Nottinghamshire. He has been blogging about the implementation of technology in his classroom for over three years at edte.ch. He also photographed the Punctuation Pyramid, which is helpful for Year 5 students and just about everyone else, including His Excellency. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kardon/2246419748/

Kacy Matthews-Hall, aka Plain Jane, has provided photos of lovely punctuation benches from downtown Portland. The quotation bench is from her photostream back in February 2008.   

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a Portuguese writer. The Book of Disquiet, from which the punctuation quotation is taken, was published posthumously in 1984 and is a Penguin Classic. 

Lynn Truss's Eats Shoots and Leaves was book of the year in the UK in 2004. Some of its examples are hilarious. What's it about?  The rest of its title is The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. In this case you can tell a book from its cover. 

Kritterville USA makes brightly coloured and very cute benches, chairs and stools. The panda bench was photographed in 2010 and appears in Kritterville's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artompotamus/ There are also frogs, beetles, bugs, and a variety of other kritters. See which pandas and other animal benches Noah saved on the ark for World Animal Day  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/noahs-ark-benches-for-world-animal-day.html

The jumble of pandas is The Panda Banquette by brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana at the mind-blowing design company L'arco Baleno. http://www.larcobaleno.com/ It's described as an iconic example of the Campana brothers’ signature style -   playful pieces made from repurposed stuffed animals, which the brothers Campana consider a humble, often overlooked material. The stuffed animals are hand-sewn onto canvas stretched over a stainless steel structure. The Panda Banquette is a limited edition of 25. At $44,170 it's the most expensive bench ever featured on Benchsite.

The Punctuation sudoku was for International Apostrophe Day in August 2013. Gosh, the apostrophe gets a day of its own! It comes from Dawn McIlvain Stahl, aka PurplePenning, who kindly brings style and order to writing, and lives to tell the tale. Dawn is a professional freelance copyeditor and writer with many interests. Exceptions: calculus, catheters, and cake. She's in Monticello,Illinois.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/purplepenning/9526323256/

There really is, or was, a St. Arbucks coffee shop in a village in Wiltshire, UK. Sadly, it did not have the required apostrophe to show ownership of the shop. In every other way, though, it's a very clever concept and I hope they gave that other Starbucks a run for their money. 

The two primate Scholars were painted by German artist Gabriel Ritter von Max (1840-1915).  Now that's a name to rival the very entitled Puking Entwits.

The giant pencil bench is by Ron Parks (2009). It's in Jocelyn Sculpture Park in Omaha, Nebraska and was photographed by Hanneorla for her photostream at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/8243041006 Hanneorla loves travelling and taking pictures around the world. She is fascinated by contemporary visual art, cutting-edge sculpture, modern architecture, and futuristic designs. The pencil bench features in the school's out for summer benches. No more pencils, no more books . . . 

Leo Reynolds from Norwich says that photography with Flickr feeds his obsession of collecting things and it's a lot cheaper than CDs, DVDs and books. He just can't leave the shutter shut. Leo has a very extensive photostream, which includes sooooo much punctuation you won't believe it. There are ampersands galore. And where else would I find a fullstop bench?  https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/85990435/

The stack of benches are lounge chairs (sort of benches) and they were photographed by my good friend Sheila B, who lives in Cyprus. She's always there offseason and has a good eye for stuff that's stored, put away, waiting for something to happen. 

Bill and Vicki T live in Rochelle, Illinois. Back in 2007 they visited Alaska, where they saw the log cabin and the inviting Husband's Waiting Bench. https://www.flickr.com/photos/iluvcocacola/534017717/ 

Sarah Browning is from Lancaster, California. She was in Kauai, Hawaii in 2009 and she found a Guy's bench for her dad outside one of the shops.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/smichael/3863185306/

Scott McLeod photographed some very colourful question mark cookies which someone baked in 2012. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcleod/7150176115/  Scott, originally from Virginia, is a Director of Innovation. Associate Professor. CASTLE Director. Blogger. Idea generator. Solution builder. Agitator. Catalyst. And here's a quote for you, properly punctuated: “If the leaders don’t get it, it’s not going to happen.”

Helen ST is from Haslemere in the UK. She loves cycling, photography, baking, travelling, ducks and lots of other things which appear in her photostream. She is also something of a grammar vigilante and she has a fine collection of signs in different languages. Her signs include the speeding polo ponies https://www.flickr.com/photos/orangebrompton/4294873069/  and the clever cows. https://www.flickr.com/photos/orangebrompton/4255861037/ 

Tina Marie's shop is Teenie Tees, where they are dedicated to creating fun, funny, cute and trendy shirts designs that you will love and love to wear for years. Just one of her Tees is the one showing the importance of a comma. Let's eat Grandpa has a completely different meaning than inviting Grandpa to eat. Commas really do save lives. www.etsy.com/shop/TeenieTees 

Cats have a way of asking perfectly punctuated questions with their tails. This cat photo is Punto interrogativo? The photographer is Mauro from Umbria in Italy. https://www.flickr.com/photos/80417459@N00/2471314610/

Rebecca Wilson is a girl after my own heart. She believes that punctuation is truly the glue that's holding civilization together, however tenuously. Back in 2010 she bravely defended the semi-colon, a misunderstood punctuation mark which comes in for a lot of schtick. You can read it here: http://saucysalad.com/2010/08/26/a-punctual-defense/  And you can see it on her photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/saucysalad/4929247829/  Rebecca is a professional web editor and writer and an amateur photographer who now lives in Portland, Oregon.

Natalie in Phoenix, Arizona is a nerdy chemist by day and a graphic designer by night. Her brilliant Etsy shop, Grammatical Art, combines her love of grammar, graphic design, and science to make prints, tees, and cards for the nerd in all of us. I have used two of her semi-colon prints to show why comma splices are not cool; a semi-colon is much cooler. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GrammaticalArt

The interrobang (‽) is a combination question mark and exclamation point. It's out of fashion now but it was once used to punctuate an excited or rhetorical question like #WTH‽  .Some people have been campaigning to bring it back. Larry Tenney took this photo in 2013 https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrytenney/9921675363/

Neil Milne from Glasgow is otherwise known as boris pumps. Among other things, he photographs nail art, including the freehand exclamation marks on a black background. https://www.flickr.com/photos/borispumps/7427448686/
It's apparently by Buzz Buzz at www.facebook.com/buzzbuzznailart

Ian is holding a portable exclamation mark but he doesn't look very excited about it. The photographer is bysfonline at https://www.flickr.com/photos/bsyf/4979582864/ 

Thanks to punctuation geeks like myself on Flickr, I was lucky enough to find a snowy exclamation mark! Isn't life great! https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoscribe/4246687403 It's by Peter Prehen, photographed in Leavensworth in January 2010. Here is Peter's comment on the photo: Somehow, imperfections from a knot in the grain of the wood, provided a slightly more gravity overcomeable place to cling and aggregate, thus further weathering this spot more intensensely than the surrounding grain which is probably more porous and dryer...  The snow bench has featured previously in Benchsite. Our benches were frozen last winter. 

Sometimes Rob Watling from Nottingham UK takes photos, and sometimes he posts them on Flickr. Free Air! is a 2010 photo  https://www.flickr.com/photos/robwatling/5074906164/  

In April 2018 benches were big news on the internet. Well, one was anyway. When Nicole Campbell died, age 35, in Los Angeles, a nice memorial bench was put up in her name intending to celebrate her love of dogs. Instead, what became celebrated was the amphiboly (misunderstanding) arising from poor grammar on the bench plaque. RIP Nicole.  

Lisa Krowinski owns the Shop Sapling Press in Pittsburgh, specialising in letterhead printed stationery. There are quite a few very useful Fact sheets, for example did you know that on the internet you're never more than three clicks away from a cat? Nice to know. Fact 79 concerns the apostrophe and there is an interesting personal letter from Question Marks. Lovely stuff, Lisa! www.etsy.com/shop/shopsaplingpress  And speaking of cats, my cat editor Meredith can show you some purrfect cat benches for World Cat Day.

See-ming Lee is the executive director of an interactive media company in Hong Kong. He posted the Comma Sutra on Flickr in 2013.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/8378437207/ And he loves nerds because they read a lot of random things, they tend to have an insane capacity for processing large amounts of data, and their creative minds prompt them to create genius ideas. 

David Lanham is an illustrator and designer living in Greensboro, North Carolina. He made the Bad Comma cartoon which says that a comma in the wrong place can be a dangerous thing, even in German. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlanham/2425029201/  For some greatly diverse European benches see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/united-in-diversity-28-benches-for.html

The Oxford bench was photographed by Stephanie Byron, who is from Iowa. I don't know if she was actually in Oxford at the time, or maybe even another place called Oxford, other than the well-known university one. Her shop is Red Hedge Photos, which sells simple, beautiful, and unique  products  inspired by nature. There are floral prints, animals, textures, objects, letters and all kinds of prints to add a dash of cheerful inspiration to everyday life.  www.etsy.com/shop/RedHedgePhotos  

There are Apostrophe cafes all over the place. I took a photo of this one in London. 

Elizabeth is a Book Fiend from Belmont, North Carolina. Fittingly, she runs Book Fiend, a shop selling literature-inspired jewelry, stickers, magnets, cuffs and gifts. There are safe text warnings and Oxford commas, and one of her weatherproof vinyl stickers is a great reminder that apostrophes do not make plurals. She does grammar too: the past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.  www.etsy.com/shop/bookfiend 

Here in Fribble-under-Par we have a six year old named April, and her parallel selves, May and June. Squeezy is their pet lemon. Here they are at Easter, when things were going a bit sour.

The Respect Apostrophes button is from Voz in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His Etsy shop, Fishcakes, makes nifty stuff like buttons, books, mugs and keychains. There is evidence of the grammar police and spelling vigilantes amongst the many colourful buttons. Great to see that!  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/fishcakesoboy

Oh dear. Although it has a thriving literary scene and many writers, the Isle of White Wight is the home of Cheekie Monkies. You can see the sign writer meant well. He or she understood that some words are made plural with ie. Unfortunately, cheeky and monkey do not follow this rule. Cheeky monkeys are needed. Goes to show that when in doubt, check your dictionary or your spellcheck. But even that won't save you from pre-loved babies. For some monkey business with cheeky monkey benches see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/monkey-business-on-st-georges-day.html

Tony Avina is from St. Louis and he runs Odysseyroc, a shopfull of tshirts and other junk (his words, not mine). One of his shirts advocates living every day as if it's Taco Tuesday, which sounds like very good advice to me. On the other hand, another shirt says I don't care about the proper use of apostrophe's and this one has me worried. I suspect it rings a bell with a lot of people though. Let's face it, apostrophes ain't popular.   www.etsy.com/shop/odysseyroc

From their base in Cardiff in Wales Team Wordtree are a specialist brand language consultancy. They create styles of language and write for companies all over the world. In their spare time, these cunning linguists create some nice wordy, printed things, such as the rogue apostrophe slayer.They are never lost for words. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Wordtree

David Erickson photographed a splendid plate of punctuation cookies for National Punctuation Day in 2008. He's a strategic communications professional, director of e-Strategy, and expert media source on online communications from Minneapolis.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/daviderickson/2884998707/

The dictionary bench defining the word 'sofa' is Dr Johnson's Wild World Book Bench from London in the summer of 2014. The designer is Scriberia and it was photographed by givingnot@rocketmail.com, who has nothing in his/her profile but lots of albums of London and some from Berlin, including quite a few benches. https://www.flickr.com/photos/57474170@N05/14746919618/ 

¡I really like the Spanish language convention of inverted question and exclamation marks! Artotem captured these beautifully in 2009. https://www.flickr.com/photos/artotemsco/3622165199/  You can see some fabuloso Mexican benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/a-fiesta-of-mexican-benches.html

Michael Beitz, a Fine Arts graduate of the University of Buffalo, exhibits throughout Europe and the US. He makes all kinds of weird and wonderful sculptures which have emerged from his years as a furniture designer. Sofas in knots, upside down tangled tables - it's great to see his quirky, twisty, mind-bending stuff. The idiot bench, made of wood, is from 2013.

The poem Principles of Punctuation is by Cecil Hartley, published in 1818. It's not really the way we understand punctuation these days but someone might find it useful. 

The Westward Ho! beach was photographed by Mark Robinson in 2008 and yes, Westward Ho! is a real place and it has a real exclamation mark as part of its name. https://www.flickr.com/photos/66176388@N00/2792976701/  Not to be outdone by Westward Ho!, the small town of Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! in Quebec has two exclamation points, three hyphens, and space between Ha! and Ha! So there.

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