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Click on the punctuation images below
for information about each one.

Apostrophe Brackets Colon Comma Dash
Ellipsis Exclamation Point Hyphen Parentheses Period
  Question Mark Quotes Semicolon  

Think an ellipsis is when the moon moves in front of the sun?

National Punctuation Day®
announces 2016 contest winners

The winners of the 2016 National Punctuation Day® writing contest are:

Malcolm Patterson (photo at right), who works for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Grace Leckey, a student at Washington-Lee High School, in Arlington, VA. They are the adult and student winners, respectively.

Malcolm, who said he’s “often called upon to untangle the wordy drafts prepared by PhDs,” wrote this thank-you note to David Chalfant, his English teacher at Walter Johnson High School, in Bethesda, MD:

Dear Mr. Chalfant,

In the early 70s, you taught English at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland. I have had many excellent instructors, but a senior semester in your classroom changed my life.

Many other teachers gave me writing assignments; you taught me to write. Others told me to make outlines; you showed me how to organize my thoughts. Others told me to review my work; you taught me to revise and rewrite (and rewrite, and rewrite). You introduced me to readability scores, so I know when I’m clear enough.

I went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where I skipped the freshman English classes — thanks to you, I “tested out.” My essays in history, economics, philology, and even technical subjects earned better grades than they might have merited on their content alone. My professors liked plain English.

In the early stages of my engineering career, I advanced rapidly because I wrote clearly. When I sought new employment, my letters usually garnered an interview. As a consultant, my reports brought repeat business.

Now I work at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where it’s my job to explain complex issues to a non-technical audience. I’m often called upon to untangle the wordy drafts prepared by PhDs, and I can usually make the most difficult material clear to a junior in college. It’s fun.

Thanks in large part to your lessons, I’ve had a great career. Thank you.

Grace, a senior, and the second consecutive student at Washington-Lee High School to win this contest, wrote to Mrs. Auer, her teacher at Saint Charles School, in Arlington:

Dear Ms. Auer,

The days of working with our spelling and language arts books seem distant now. However, many lessons from our classroom remain with me today — how to set up microphones for Mass, how to sing the Notre Dame fight song, and how to gently pet a guinea pig.

I learned hundreds of lessons in your class at Saint Charles, but I’m sad to report that in high school, there are no school Masses that need microphones set up, no Notre Dame pep rallies, and no guinea pigs.

While those lessons stay close to my heart, the lessons I call upon daily are your lessons on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I am grateful for the strong academic foundation you helped build for me and my classmates. Your dodgeball-playing, chocolate milk-loving fifth graders have grown into high school seniors.

I remember how I used to sit curled up in our reading corner with copies of “Peter Pan” and “My Side of the Mountain.” Now, I stand with poise in front of other IB English students giving presentations about “Crime and Punishment” and “Macbeth.”

Times certainly change, but the confidence I gained from your class remains unfaded. I plan to go away to college soon and study music. As I pack up my belongings and memories for the journey, I’ll be sure to bring your lessons with me.

Malcolm and Grace won a goody bag of punctuation products, a punctuation book, and the rewards associated with knowing their brilliance has been recognized on the Internet and social media.

Dumbest Sign of the Decade

Diana's Playpen

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®

Radio KFKA
Radio WBGZ
KPCC Radio
Radio KFWB

Past newspaper and blog
coverage of
National Punctuation Day®

Missouri State Teachers Association: Why Punctuation? Guest column by Jeff Rubin, founder of National Punctuation Day

The Destin Log: A punctilious punctuator’s pet peeves

USA TODAY: Contest: Do you know your punctuation?

San Francisco Chronicle: Punctuation Paragraph Contest Highlights 8th Annual National Punctuation Day, Sept. 24

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Happy National Punctuation Day! Now use it correctly

Baltimore Sun: On George Clooney and apostrophes

Charlotte Observer.com—The Reading Life blog: Punctuation geeks: A contest just for you

North County Times (CA): HUNNEMAN: Hyping the hyphen

Detroit News: Watch the punctuation: Its role in financial documents is crucial

Florida Times-Union: “Punctuation, (is) our; friend!”

Dubuque (IA) Telegraph-Herald: Editor’s notes: TH readers try to punctuate their way to glory

Omaha World Herald: So you know

Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times-Leader: Punctuation a thing of the past?

Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin: Prepare your pet peeves. Punctuation Day is fast approaching (first column, September 14)

Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin: I’m Just Sayin’: Today’s the day for perfect punctuation (second column, September 24)

Beverly in Movieland: Punctilious about Punctuation

New Jersey Today: Contest Highlights 8th Annual National Punctuation Day, Sept. 24 Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review Today is National Punctuation Day

Pinole Patch: Write a Paragraph for National Punctuation Day

El Cerrito Patch: A Day To Show Some Love for Punctuation

Association Media & Publishing: It’s Cool to be a Comma

The Writing Resource: Celebrate National Punctuation Day

Center for Writing Excellence: Call me a nerd, but . . .

American Copy Editors Society: Celebrating the comma, partying with parentheses

Chicago Reader: Chicago’s contribution to National Punctuation Day

Chicago Reader: Cats, Chicagoan claim quotation, comma contest

Ben G’s video salute to NPD: September 24th is National Punctuation Day!

Headbloom Blog: The Apoplectic Apostrophe

Grumbling & Gratitude: “HAPPY” NATIONAL PUNCTUATION ... DAY!

Daily Writing Tips: 10 Websites and Blogs of Punctuation Protectors

Wordnik: Punctuation Rules!

TeleRead: National Punctuation Day is September 24

Punctuation rap song: Dots N Dashes

You Tube: Punctuation songs and videos

Cybrary Man: Cybrary Man’s Educational Web Sites

Arlington Now: Arlington Resident a National Punctuation Day Winner

Arlington Sun-Gazette: Arlingtonian Among Tops in U.S. in Creative Use of Punctuation

Canton Repository: Punctuation contest brings out the best

New Jersey reporter searches for
missing apostrophe in Toms River

Old Navy’s T-shirt
apostrophe catastrophe

Colleges and universities approved
the apostrophe-less T-shirt

National Punctuation Day®
salutes the Tea Party

Cake Wrecks highlights
The “Wonders” (of) Punctuation...

Victor Borge and Dean Martin
sing phonetic punctuation

National Punctuation Day at the
Michigan State University School of Journalism


In 2006, National Punctuation Day® founder Jeff Rubin and his wife, Norma, began performing Punctuation Playtime® assemblies in elementary schools. Punctuation Playtime® has been performed nearly 75 times in schools from California to Chicago to New York.

Punctuation Playtime® is a 45-minute program for children in grades K-6. Punctuation Playtime® features games, activities, and storytelling—even a rap song—to reinforce important punctuation lessons in an effort to enhance children’s reading, writing, and communication skills.

On October 21, 22, and 23, 2009, Jeff and Norma brought Punctuation Playtime® to the Westfield Fox Hills Shopping Center in Culver City, CA, to help the center inaugurate a new installation inside the mall called Punctuation Station. Jeff and Norma did three performances each day.

Teachers love the program and how Jeff and Norma interact with the children.

“Your program completely supports our curriculum content,” said Sally Feldman, a teacher at Washington Elementary School, in Point Richmond, CA. “You have wrapped up the best in teaching to bring to our students. I love the fact that you are not afraid to teach young children great skills!”

“That’s a typical comment we get from teachers after a program,” says Jeff, who works during the day as The Newsletter Guy, writing company newsletters for corporate customers out of his office in Pinole, CA.

Punctuation Playtime® performs
at Los Angeles-area shopping center


Jeff and Norma have also produced a 30-minute instructional DVD that trains teachers how to facilitate Punctuation Playtime® in their schools. They also conduct 90-minute workshops for elementary-school teachers on how to teach punctuation to children in a fun and engaging way.

Visit the NPD website regularly at www.NationalPunctuationDay.com for updates and new photos. And check the Punctuation Playtime® website at www.PunctuationPlaytime.com for information about bringing our program to your school.

National Punctuation Day® features

Americans respond to National Punctuation Day® with photos of their most annoying punctuation gaffes.

National Punctuation Day® strikes a chord with the American public. Read their letters.

Punctuation and the Love Letter . . . it will break your heart.

Banking on proper punctuation: The Bank of America celebrates—for a week!

Punctuation party in Ohio: The Dayton Business Journal celebrates—pastry style!

Errant comma costs company $2.13 million: Read about it in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Why so many college freshmen need remedial English: Read about the high school mismatch.

Punctuation changes a sentence’s meaning: A comma here, a hyphen there, can change your life.

Why punctuation matters in business: It’s all about how you present yourself, and how you are perceived.

Writing skills help learning—and earning: The Young Writers Project reveals some interesting statistics.

Sing the Punctuation Rap: Yes—a rap song for children that actually teaches them something useful!

Got a photo of an incorrectly punctuated sign?
Click here to e-mail it to Jeff Rubin and it will be posted on the
National Punctuation Day® web site—with a photo credit!

National Punctuation Day® makes the news! TV, radio, newspapers, and blogs are all covering this phenomenon.

Check it out here

Meat Loaf
Cook the Official
Meat Loaf of
National Punctuation Day®!

(see PDF recipe)
Contact Jeff Rubin for more information about punctuation
(510) 724-9507