Contest Highlights 8th Annual National Punctuation Day, Sept. 24

PINOLE, Calif. — This year’s National Punctuation Day® Contest asks entrants to write a paragraph — maximum of three sentences using all 13 punctuation marks featured on the National Punctuation Day® website —to celebrate the 8th annual National Punctuation Day on Sept. 24. Contestants will compete for a box of punctuation goodies. Send your entries to by Sept. 30 to be considered for prizes.

National Punctuation Day® — the holiday that encourages worldwide literacy — reminds America that a “semicolon is not a surgical procedure.” NPD is celebrated in schools and businesses throughout the world with activities, games, programs, and contests. It has inspired people to pay attention not only to their p’s and q’s, but also their commas, semicolons, and ellipses.


Teachers throughout the United States are seizing the teaching opportunity presented by the unusual Saturday holiday celebration this year. Students are being sent on fact-finding missions through their communities — armed with their smart phones — to take photos of incorrectly punctuated store signs and billboards. Students will prepare videos that will be posted on YouTube and used for teaching purposes for years to come.

Former newspaper reporter Jeff Rubin founded National Punctuation Day® in 2004 to draw attention to the importance of proper punctuation. “It’s a day for librarians, educators, and parents – people who are interested in teaching and promoting good writing skills to their students and their children.”

It’s also a day to remind business people that they are often judged by how they present themselves.

“All professions depend on good writing skills,” Rubin says. “When you’re talking on the telephone, people form their opinion of you by your voice. In person, it’s your appearance. With correspondence, people form their opinion of you based on your writing skills. If you can’t spell and you can’t string a few words together to make a literate sentence, your job advancement will be hindered, unless you’re a professional athlete.

“It’s sad to say, but writing skills, punctuation skills, communication skills in general, have just deteriorated over the years. You see it in newspapers, magazines and even books — misspelled words, words used incorrectly. It’s extremely frustrating. I want National Punctuation Day® to bring this to the forefront of the American consciousness in a fun, silly way.”

The NPD website ( serves as a resource that helps educators teach good writing skills and helps students understand the basics of punctuation. Teachers and business people worldwide use it as a reference guide.

The website features explanations of the proper usage of 13 punctuation marks, links to numerous grammar and writing resources, and a library of hundreds of photos of improperly punctuated signs and billboards sent by readers throughout the world.

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