A Punctuation Predicament. . .

Industry Observer CalDRE #01165532



A Punctuation Predicament. . .



Earlier this month, I read a post by Leanne Smith. I admit it caused some discomfort.  It wasn’t anything to do with Leanne’s thoughts or the way she skillfully expressed them. However, the bigger subject had me digging deeper into the peculiarities of our language. 


While she discussed a particular part of grammar in her post, my pondering about the painful pangs of punctuation reoccurred.


The phrase putting pen to paper comes to mind even though any form of penmanship is not involved in my writing. It's far more likely that my pudgy fingers push letters on the keyboard as I type. While I understand the importance of proper communication skills, I fail often.



Those thoughts returned as I read Leanne's post. Coincidentally, I had just listened to a radio interview about a recently released documentary: Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb.


The documentary is about a business relationship. From the viewpoint of an author. And an editor. I saw it on Wednesday. Effective communication plays a role in it - of course. But it's about so much more. Differences of opinion are calmly (relatively) discussed. With intelligence too. And there is also some humor (subtly). Is it for everyone? Come on, you know that answer before I ask it.


I enjoyed it for all sorts of reasons. Life continues to be a lesson. It is experienced in everyday living. I read about it too. On occasion, I overhear examples. I guess some might say it happens somewhat serendipitously. It is certainly a combination of many paths along this journey.



The images in this post are from www.canstockphoto.com.  





Posted by

Michael Jacobs


CalBRE # 01165532

P. O. Box 587

Pasadena, CA 91102

Call/Text:  818.516.4393




Comments (33)

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Michael you are a great communicator and more valuable is that you make people THINK ..........and I might add A LOT.  That is a great gift to be blessed with and you share it freely!

Jan 15, 2023 10:58 AM
Michael Jacobs

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker - as I have transitioned away from real estate-centric posts, I tend to think of this blogging effort as a journal of sorts. 

It's interesting to see that timeline where the occasional diversion of the past has taken on a larger more dominant role.  Let's see what's next - maybe someone knows, I am not sure.  Thank you for your comment.  

Jan 15, 2023 11:34 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Michael Jacobs .  Timing on this post interesting for me.  I am shifting our office in how they think this year.  I want them, and myself of course, to think of ourselves as specialists in communications, a communications company, working in the Real Estate field.  Easily stated but will not be an easy mind transition.  Mark

Jan 15, 2023 11:47 AM
Michael Jacobs

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho - good luck as your plan for yourself and each member of your brokerage moves forward.  I look forward to updates.  

Jan 15, 2023 04:49 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Michael, we do need to be able to communicate effectively with our clients and cooping agents!

Jan 15, 2023 04:19 PM
Michael Jacobs

Joan Cox - it can make a difference.  

Jan 15, 2023 04:50 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

You are on to something, Michael.  The word, "penmanship" is likely to one day soon be quite antiquated.

Jan 15, 2023 05:36 PM
Michael Jacobs

Myrl Jeffcoat - I think it was a few years ago when I first heard a joke that people were planning a "secret" language written in cursive in order to fool those who never learned it.  

Jan 15, 2023 06:10 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Michael, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jan 15, 2023 05:37 PM
Michael Jacobs

Myrl Jeffcoat - thank you for the highlight within the OFC group.  I appreciate it very much.  

Jan 15, 2023 06:11 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

As I read your post this morning Michael, I had to take a moment to pause and breathe ~ I am always in a punctuation predicament!

Jan 15, 2023 05:38 PM
Michael Jacobs

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 - it seems many comments report "you are not alone".  

Jan 15, 2023 06:13 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Great post as always. I am in agreement that we are losing the art of writing in a grammatically, correct manner. Makes me sad.

Jan 15, 2023 08:06 PM
Michael Jacobs

Dr. Paula McDonald - thank you.  Change is among us.  And it is interesting to see how it impacts us in all kinds of ways.  

Jan 16, 2023 06:20 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Michael are you saying " Across the boat the river the man came" is not good English?:)) keep in mind being a Hungarian and English as my third language I thought it was OK:)))))Endre

Jan 15, 2023 10:53 PM
Michael Jacobs

Endre Barath, Jr. - the ability to communicate in more than one language remains impressive to me.   Writing and speaking English continues to be confusing to this native speaker.  

Jan 16, 2023 06:26 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Monday morning, Michael. Enjoy the holiday and have an outstanding week.

Dolores fell at home last night and is now in the Shady Grove hospital for a hip replacement.

Jan 16, 2023 07:18 AM
Michael Jacobs

Roy Kelley - I am sorry to hear about Dolores' fall and hope her surgery is successful plus her recovery is quick as well as full.  

We are continuing to have rain so today is likely to be a soggy one.  

Jan 16, 2023 08:19 AM
Linda Blumenthal

Hope all is okay!

Jan 16, 2023 08:02 AM
Linda Blumenthal
Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087 - Westhampton Beach, NY
NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR

Grammar and punctuation isn't taught like it was years ago.  

Jan 16, 2023 08:03 AM
Michael Jacobs

Linda Blumenthal - and I can remember my parents said similar things when I was in school too.  It makes me wonder if there is a message in there somewhere.  Thank you for the comment.  

Jan 16, 2023 08:21 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Michael,

Your post got me pondering as well.  As much as I studied English in grammar school, I often wonder if will I ever master my native language. Have I mastered it already? Then I think about all the other languages this world has. How difficult is ours to master from another's point of view versus how hard is another language to master from my point of view?  

Jan 16, 2023 08:37 AM
Michael Jacobs

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - in some ways, I apologize for sending you down that questioning path.  And in other ways, I continue to realize how thoughts and impressions can have a significant impact on us. 

It seems there is never enough time to "know it all" but the journey can lead to many discoveries.  Is that another way to say I am still tripping, taking missteps and traipsing my way through as I travel this way?  Hmm. . .  

Jan 16, 2023 09:00 AM
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Pen to paper, I say it often but don't put much thought into the meaning of it.  Punctuation. Its so challenging that there are college courses in the school of business to just learn the technical aspect of writing. So few master it. Thanks for sharing! 

Jan 16, 2023 09:12 AM
Michael Jacobs

Cathy Criado - you make a good point about how we use words and familiar sayings.  It's a part of daily life yet seemingly so foreign to us too.  Talk about misinterpretation on an entirely different level.  

Jan 16, 2023 09:24 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Since I read your blog post this morning; I have found your discomfort, is my discomfort and I must ponder Michael....

Jan 17, 2023 10:02 AM
Michael Jacobs

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I'm not saying you have it but I do wonder if I may possess ponder-hypochondria.  

Jan 17, 2023 11:01 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I seem to fail at this daily. I apologize to all my readers on a daily basis 😶

Jan 18, 2023 05:06 PM
Michael Jacobs

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I haven't seen that - maybe I should look more closely.  😉

Jan 18, 2023 05:23 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

You are a very good communicator of words and your pondering posts grab attention, making people think, Michael. And while we are not meant to be perfect, effective is good enough for me!

Jan 19, 2023 06:25 PM
Michael Jacobs

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! - thank you.  I see many ways I want to improve - communication is but one.  It is fortunate that life offers opportunities each day where we can always be and do better.  

Jan 20, 2023 03:42 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Friday morning, Michael.

Have a great day and an outstanding weekend.

Jan 20, 2023 09:51 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Michael Jacobs - These are great observations. Good grammar and punctuations are very important. I am reminded how slowly the nuns is school taught cursive and expected perfection. Dictionaries were mandatory. Typing on the old manual typewriter in High School took patience to pound on those keys. Electric typewriters had their challenges and then came correcto type and correction tape. Back then, I was always graded and knew promotions at the office only happened to the best. My first Office Jobs out of High School were at different Law Firms working for attorneys. Mistakes were not tolerated and even liquid paper wasn't allowed. Carbon paper wasn't permitted. Computers have put me on the down slope in grammar and punctuation. This is something I struggle with and continuously criticize myself.  

Jan 20, 2023 04:33 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Michael Jacobs - You were a lucky boy! Before I finished grade school, all my grandparents were deceased. I didn't have a typewriter but I played piano and that helped me a lot to memorize the keyboard once I got to High School. I didn't have a piano either, but I made the keyboard using pieces of carboard and practiced all the time. I didn't know what it sounded like, until I played the piano in school. My piano teacher never knew I did I didn't know have a piano. I didn't have a typewriter until I was in College after I was single and it benefited me and my children. It was like a prize and a gift for each other.

Jan 31, 2023 05:59 PM
Michael Jacobs

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - that's an impressive story.  And definitely a creative one too.  I am sure your teacher was impressed in multiple ways.  

Jan 31, 2023 07:17 PM
Michael Jacobs

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - I was grateful that my grandmother gifted me her typewriter (it was a Royal upright, unknown vintage) to me when she bought a new electric one when I was in elementary school. 

It proved to be excellent training when I took a typing class as an elective in junior high school on an Olivetti electric version. 

I think I resisted taking the class but remain grateful that I did as it definitely helped me when computers became a part of life.  Your comment brought back many memories.   Of typewriters, computers, dictionaries and more.  Thank you.  

Jan 20, 2023 05:01 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Life does continue to be a lesson and sometimes the lessons are not ones we are ready to learn or even willing to learn. Life will persist, unfortunately, until we do learn. 

Jan 22, 2023 07:40 AM
Michael Jacobs

Sharon Tara - indeed.  

Jan 22, 2023 07:56 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh boy! So, do you think my double exclamation points would fly past an English professor, Michael?! (<OH and that wouldn't fly either [the ?!]).

Like you, I always feel that my English teacher mother & grandmother are looking over me, shaking their heads, saying that they taught me better. I just can't help it though! 

As for pen-to-paper, I use that all of the time too and every time I write it or speak it, I try to come up with the next generation's version of that.  Will it be, 'fingers-to-keyboard?' Perhaps it's my age but, somehow, that doesn't have the same ring to it that pen-to-paper does!

Jan 31, 2023 06:00 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Hello Michael Jacobs - not a coincidence how one thing can lead to another. We see something or hear something and off we go to investigate/research. I often find myself down a rabbit hole.  Some are fun and educational and others ... not so much. 

You were taken to a documentary that you enjoyed! 

Feb 01, 2023 09:50 AM
Michael Jacobs

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist - while attendance in the theater was light, it was nice seeing people enjoying the film.  I think that enhances the experience.

Feb 01, 2023 10:33 AM