Espresso Idea: Argumentation & Guerrilla Punctuation


Espresso Ideas: Small but strong ideas to make you sit up and say ‘yeah!’ (Also known as wasabi ideas)

Very few things drive me as kooky as people who take what I say and spit it back at me covered with flecks of punctuation. I am becoming particularly revolted by snotty inverted commas and gooey quotation marks.

As if if this is all that is needed to confute the point I am making.

I find this is especially rife on Twitter – mostly because of the character limit (and the impersonal nature of social media). But I’ve also had emails and replies on Facebook where the same fallacious use of punctuation-as-a-counter-argument is employed.

And then there’s the sniffy question mark or exclamation point, or even a ‘hmmm?’ or a ‘huh!?’ or even a ‘lol!’ after quoting something I have said. (Although to be fair, I do say a few bizarre things.)

I am all for open and respectful debate, I am happy to be proven wrong, and I celebrate people’s right to disagree, but using guerrilla punctuation to make these arguments smacks of lazy thinking.

I’m not saying I need a three page rebuttal. But surely, with a bit of thought, a concise, witty counter-argument isn’t impossible? Or even a more engaging ‘Have you considered?’ Or what about something entirely vanilla-flavored, like ‘I believe you are wrong because…’?

Or perhaps even a short blog post…


One comment

  1. All you ‘confuters’ out there please stop upsetting Sean. He’s a legend!

    Sean I just need to ask you to explain what guerrilla punctuation is all about. AND I know you are speaking English but what do you mean when you say ‘snotty inverted commas and gooey quotation marks.’? I’m turning 50 next year so I don’t get it – I need a translation!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.