So yeah, this’s how I punctuate

Punctuation doesn’t seem to have much to do with how I talk. After all, I don’t really use punctuation marks when I’m speaking. But I do think it makes a difference. And I do think the punctuation marks I use reflect how I speak.

So… a rundown:


I never use semicolons. Sure, I write online mostly, so I have a better excuse. But I almost always choose some other form of punctuation. Instead of the semicolon, I like the dash. The semicolon, to me, is the “whom” of punctuation marks. It’s pretentious andĀ pompous. I’d suggest staying away from it.

Exclamation point!

I rarely use exclamation points. Or I should say, I only use them the way they should be used: when I’d actually yell in person. When I speak, I definitely do raise and lower my voice, but I try to avoid yelling. So I try to avoid it in print too.

I use “definitely” or “totally” to show intensity. The exclamation point looks cheap, in my opinion, like spam email or something.


Just yesterday, I was told I use too many parentheses when I speak. Really, I do. I love going off on tangents. <<Need to work on that.

In writing, I love parentheses because I feel like they help me represent what I’m thinking. Parentheses allow me to converse with my own writing, the way my thoughts converse with themselves (hence the reason this is called Marshallogue).


Definitely a favorite of mine, though I’ve toned them down in recent months. I like them for their ability to create “longer than a comma” pauses mid-sentence. And I like them for their added… suspense.


Since I’ve ditched the semicolon, the dash comes in handy for keeping separate sentences together. It’s also my sneaky way of adding more parenthetical clauses to my writing. I think I first noticed Darren Rowse talking about them, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

“Quotation marks”

Of course, I like quoting people, but I also break these out when I’m creating “I’m as long as a train” adjectives or adverbs. <<Like that. I don’t do air quotes when I’m talking, but evidently I do when I’m writing. šŸ™‚

Guillemet <<

I didn’t even know what this was called until I had to learn it to write this. Like the parentheses, I use this to carry on conversations with my thoughts… in this case, to indicate I’m directly referring back to a specific sentence. I think I picked it up from Twitter.

Emoticon :>)

Ah, the emoticon. I developed my own, though I’m sure it’s nothing new, as a way to show that I’m joking… or at least playing. Some people just don’t get sarcasm when they see it in print. I feel like I need to say, “That was a joke,” without actually writing, “That was a joke.” :>)

I have some strong feelingsĀ about commas and periods too, but I’ll spare you the details here. Enough is enough.

Unless you want to share how you punctuate?