Arlington Resident a National Punctuation Day Winner

by ARLnow.com December 8, 2011 at 10:40 am 8,839 33 Comments

A local woman has been named one of the big winners of a little-known contest.

Yorktown resident Kathleen Summers is one of 10 winners of the 2011 National Punctuation Day paragraph contest. In case you missed it, Sept. 24th marked the annual celebration of National Punctuation Day — a day that has promoted the correct usage of punctuation since its founding in 2004.

For the traditional Punctuation Day contest, punctuation fans around the world were invited to: “Write one paragraph, maximum of three sentences, using these 13 punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once. Multiple entries are permitted.”

Here’s Kathleen’s winning paragraph:

The semiliterate—and unintentionally hilarious—sound bites of the 2012 presidential candidates (such as this recent gem by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, quoted in the Milford [Mass.] Daily News: “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people … who knows what may come out of that?”) make me wonder if we should return to the back-to-basics teaching methods of the 1950s. I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, genius, did all those grammar drills, diagrams, and rote memorizations turn you into a gifted writer?” Alas, no; but as prosaic as my sentences may be, at least they’re sentences!

Summers was selected as a winner from the pool of 220 entries received. Entrants were from locales as far-flung as India.

As a winner, Summers will receive “a box of punctuation gifts.”

  • Tabby


  • Punctual by Nature

    Victor Borge’s classic phonetic punctuation!


  • Gram
  • OX4

    Good, for you: “Kathleen.”

  • CourthouseChris

    Spare yourself embarrassing abiguities – always use the Oxford comma!


    • speonjosh


  • drax

    Oh come on. Using all punctuation marks in one sentences is so #@?$!%;^*:&(“ing easy. See?

  • 1,000,000 crickets


  • yequalsy

    What’s awesome about the paragraph she wrote is that it’s necessarily convoluted, but clear and funny.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Bet you she’s the one that dinged me on random capitalizations yesterday.

    • drax

      The one “who” dinged you. “That” refers to objects; “who” to people.

      • G Clifford Prout

        All women ARE objects.

  • YTK

    I. am? very, HAPPY; to hear — about her…[email protected]

  • Quoth the Raven

    She did manage to write a somewhat unique paragraph, that’s for sure!

    • bemused bystander

      nothing is “somewhat” unique. Either it is or it ain’t.

      • Quoth the Raven

        A few days ago there were 1,000 comments regarding the relative “uniqueness” of something (based precisely on the very comment you made) and I was making the (apparently lame) attempt to harken back to that discussion…

        • bemused bystander

          Sorry. Once in a while I miss a thread because (horrors!) I have to work.

          • Quoth the Raven

            HA! How can you let work get in the way of a good Arlnow discussion?!?!?

      • CourthouseChris

        If “unique” is a binary condition, then you could make the argument that nothing exists that is unique if it shares any common trait with another, and everything shares at least the one common trait of existence. Therefore nothing exists that is unique.

        So, for the sake of usefullness of language, there must be degrees of unique, it cannot be a binary condition.

  • Charlie

    She is never in the comment section here, I bet.

    • Kathleen Summers

      Your right, I never am but, now I plan to because I love how theirs always something fun going “on” in the comments!!!

      • Kathleen Summers

        PS — drax, I think I love you.

      • If you are really Kathleen, I can only hope you intentionally messed up this entry – “your” and “theirs”?

        • Maria

          Oh, Grandma.

  • La

    I want to know what “a box of punctuation gifts” entails!

  • Arlwhenver

    While she may get an A for punctuation she gets an F for content.

    As for the claim of semi-literacy Perry was using Washington as a referent for the Federal Government.

    We often use singular nouns that refer to groups of people (for example: team, government, committee) as if they were plural — common and accepted usage.

    The committee are wrong to have given her the award.

    • cindy loose

      yes, Arlwhenver, Perry is a proven erudite statesman.
      Congrats, k.c.

  • Way to go! This is genius!

  • Arlingtonian

    Congratulations! But please tell us what the punctuation gifts are. English major nerdgirl here would love to know!

    • Per National Punctuation Day founder Jeff Rubin, the gifts include: “T-shirt (http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/products.html), greeting card, bookmarks, pen, ruler, and a squeeze toy in the shape of a question mark.”

      • Arlingtonian

        That is awesome … I want one. I’ll have to come up with something for next year’s contest 😉

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