The Power Of Punctuation. Part 3

English Lesson Notes for Junior Secondary

The Power Of Punctuation. Part 3

First and foremost, I want acknowledge a commenter and reader of Tammy's English and Literary blog, Mr Ikenna Raphael, for sharing this with me.

Indeed, the importance of punctuation marks in English language cannot be overemphasized. In this tutorial, I will be showing you a passage from the scripture which has caused an argument among theologians as a result of a punctuation symbol(comma) which according to some, is wrongly placed.

Let's see the book of Luke 23:43
'...verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.'This is Jesus Christ referring to one of thieves on the cross. This is the original statement and I would want us to tag it 'sentence one.'

Now let's see sentence two:
'...verily, I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

What you should note is that the structure(arrangement of words) of both sentences are the same but the difference is in the placement of the punctuation mark, comma(,). Whereas the punctuation symbol is immediately placed after 'thee' in sentence one, it is placed after 'today' in sentence two.

Sentence One Analysis
Linguistically, sentence one simply means, the thief Jesus Christ was referring to on the cross, would be with Him in paradise on the day He made the statement. In other words, both Jesus Christ and the thief would be in paradise that same day they were crucified.

Sentence Two Analysis
The meaning of sentence two differs from that of sentence one because of the punctuation mark (,) placed immediately after 'today.'
Similarly, sentence two also means that the thief will be with Jesus Christ in paradise but it doesn't state when unlike in sentence one. It only states that Jesus Christ made the statement to thief the day He was crucified, so the thief can be with him in paradise the next day or anytime but not on the day He made the statement.

The Argument Among Theologians
This has really posed a strong argument among theologians. While some are of the view that sentence one is correct because the scripture cannot be faulted, others are arguing that sentence two should be the correct statement because when Jesus Christ gave up the ghost on the cross, He didn't go to paradise; He went to hell to engage the devil in a battle in order to redeem man.

The latter actually backed up their argument with some scriptures and further stated that the expression in the bible was as a result of translation error.

Are you still doubting the power of punctuation marks?

My Interest
My interest is in the importance of punctuation marks. Hope you have seen why it is very necessary to punctuate correctly? Be advised, wrong punctuation can cause a whole lot of shit, so punctuate rightly.