Of signs and signposts

What makes a good sentence?

There’s no short answer. But here’s my 2 cents…

It’s the capital letter at the beginning, the commas, colons and semi colons where they are supposed to be, it’s the dashes and apostrophes, but it’s also the period at the end.

The capital letter at the beginning may be symbolic of a high. Starting with a bang. The promise of adventure, excitement, something new. It’s often unrealistic, but… there it is. Undisputedly big, dazzlingly sharp, carrying the weight of expectation beyond its capacity to deliver.

Then there’s the comma. Wonderful little tail-like thing that tells us to take a pause. Breathe in. Commas show us that it’s not over yet, that there’s still plenty ahead, but allow us a moment to soak in what has passed and look forward, perhaps with lesser anticipation than the beginning, to what lies ahead.

Then comes the period. We all know it is coming. Even when it comes when it is expected, it is still a bit disappointing. It means the thought is over. There’s nothing more to be said in that sentence. That is it.

But when it comes abruptly…IT. STINGS. When it blindsides…gives no warning, it shocks and shutters.

Punctuation are like signposts, they tell us when to pause, and when to stop, when to keep going and whether there’s room for more words. But sometimes we don’t see these signs. We look away because the truth is too hard to bear, and when a period appears where we knew for sure they’d be a comma, we tumble over it and fall flat on the face. Often times injured and badly bruised because we didn’t have a moment to slow down and come to a natural stop.