punctuation marks STOCK

Editor’s Note: A version of this story was first published in 2010

Story highlights

A former newspaper reporter created the day

He says it's to help educators

CNN  — 

Appreciate the apostrophe, salute the semicolon and exalt the exclamation point today. It’s National Punctuation Day!

The holiday started when Jeff Rubin, a former reporter, grew increasingly frustrated as he spotted errors in the newspaper.

“I would sit at the kitchen table with my red Sharpie … screaming obscenities, which would upset my wife,” Rubin told CNN. “She encouraged me to find another outlet for my aggravation.”

In 2004, he secured a listing for the day in the “Chase’s Calendar of Events” reference book, and National Punctuation Day was born.

“The first two years it was on August 22, because that’s my birthday,” Rubin said. “I figured if you’re going to start a holiday, you should have it on a day you can remember.”

But he moved the festivities to September 24 in 2006, placing it squarely in the school year and honoring the number of his favorite baseball hero, Willie Mays.

A point to the day

The day isn’t just for people who get cranky over misplaced commas or hyperventilate over errant hyphens.

Rubin said he wanted to help educators remind students that punctuation still matters, even in an age of rapid-fire tweets and text messages.

“We are graduating children from high schools now who cannot read and cannot write,” he says. “When these kids get out into the real world, they’re going to be unemployable.”

He’s not alone in his push for punctuation.

In her book, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation,” British author Lynne Truss describes a panda entering a cafe, eating a sandwich, firing a gun and walking out – all because of a poorly punctuated wildlife manual.