We’ve got just the right deal to make the perfect (punctuation) mark at the holidays

So, you’re looking for Black Friday deals?

Well, look no further than the Paragraph Factory.

We’ve got deals so good they’re felony theft in 30 states.

There are no supply chain problems here, no sir, not today.

Want to please that retired English teacher in your family?

We’re offering 100 Oxford commas for just $19.99.

Our motto: Never let a conjunction that joins a list of three or more items in a sentence come without a comma preceding it.

Elmore Leonard once wrote writers were allowed no more than two exclamation points per 100,000 words of copy.

That’s fine, but Leonard is dead, and we’ve got to move these surplus exclamation marks out of the warehouse.

We’re offering packs of 100 exclamation marks for a special doorbuster price of $9.99.

Breaking news!

This just in from our sales department: The first 1,000 people through doors at 12:01 a.m. Black Friday will receive a free semicolon.

We were going to charge for these beauties, but frankly, nobody but retired English teachers and jobless copy editors know what to do with them.

But we’re not stopping there, folks.

We’re offering three-packs of periods for $6.99.

Don’t scoff at the common period. It’s one of punctuation’s most versatile marks.

Stack two on top of one another and what have you got? A colon (:).

Lay three out close together and — kaboom! — you’ve got yourself a genuine ellipsis (…) to build tension in that great American novel you’ve always been meaning to write.

In a special partnership with new Twitter owner Elon Musk, the Paragraph Factory is proud to present a line of the finest emojis for the first time.

Orange angry face and middle finger are most popular with our customers who discuss complex issues of democracy and politics at 240 characters a pop.

Gen X customers prefer the thumbs up and laughing so hard I’m crying face.

Our Millennial and Gen Z customers are triggered by some emojis, but who cares?

They’re probably exhausted from annoying everyone about the cruelty to turkeys during Thanksgiving dinner.

And don’t think we’ve forgotten our international patrons.

We have tildes, con acentos, and both inverted question marks and exclamation marks for our Spanish-language-speaking customers.

You want to spice up your copy with a little dash

We’ve them all, babies.

Hyphen-minus, a hyphen, en dash, figure das, en dash, em dash, horizontal bar, a uble oblique hyphen, hyphen with dieresis, the wave dash, and the ever-popular katakana-hiragana double hyphen.

If you don’t know what some of those are, that’s OK. Neither do we.

This is Black Friday. We’re here to sell. You’re here to buy.

Do the details that really matter? Some of you gave up Thanksgiving to shiver in the parking lot for the opportunity to buy stuff you don’t need, often with money you don’t have.

You might as well blow your cash on punctuation marks.

You might even use those, though judging by some of your letters to the editor, I can’t assume you’ll use them correctly.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.


  1. amyk611 says:

    I always enjoy your columns. Love this one. Thanks. 

    Amy Duncan515-250-3698Sent from my iPhone


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  2. Karen says:



  3. Allison says:

    I love this!


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