Writing About Writing
"Teaching Punctuation as a Rhetorical Tool" by John Dawkins
In"Teaching Punctuation as a Rhetorical Tool," John Dawkins attempts to explain that punctuation rules are simply guidelines and not laws. Dawkins argues that his idea of "raising and lowering" (with his hierarchy of punctuation) would be a better way of teaching punctuation than what the handbooks present currently. He uses several examples to show how handbooks can be proven wrong and how they do not explain some rhetorical situations in which punctuation would come into question. Dawkins also explains that "good" writers use punctuation as they see fit according to their rhetorical intent. Basically, the author has the choice on which punctuation to use in order to emphasize what they think should be emphasized. Dawkins' whole article is based around the idea that the writer actually has a choice when it comes to punctuating and that there are not actually a set of laws for punctuation.