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The Invasion of the Ampersand & Other Naughty Punctuation

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Everyone who knows me knows I have quite a few pet peeves, but two writing related peeves really stand out – the overuse of ampersands & quotation marks for no reason.

The problem is that there is a huge invasion of text message/Twitter speak in everyday communication, and it drives me batty. And for some reason companies think they have to throw up a couple of quotation marks to distinguish their tagline.

Know what this says to me as a consumer? You’re not the real deal. That may seem a bit harsh, but I value a company that thinks about the details. Like the appropriate use of quotation marks. The purpose of these attention-grabbing symbols is to distinguish conversation in prose, quote someone or to call attention to a term that may be unfamiliar. It’s not to distinguish what your company is known for.

Moving on to the real renegade, I believe that the overuse of ampersands shows how busy we all think we are. I recently did a test to see the difference in the time it took to type this curvy, serial symbol. It takes no longer to tap a-n-d on your keyboard. So, why are we so hooked on making it part of our professional communications?

It’s the text message and Twitter in us. We have to be so pithy in our 140 or 160 characters, that this space-saver has crept into other forms of communication. But just like we had to learn to adapt our messages to Twitter and text style, we need to communicate within the style guides of our chosen medium.

Just sayin’.

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