Canfield eighth-grader wins National Punctuation Day essay contest

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  • Davis

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Porter’s essay

Hi, my name is Porter Davis. I am an 8th grade student at Canfield Middle School. My biggest pet peeve in class is reading other students’ dazzling work and they have misplaced a comma.

Misplacing a comma can eradicate the entire plot of a marvelous story. Doing such a thing makes a character say something that they didn’t mean, for example, “Let’s eat grandma” is not the same as “Let’s eat, grandma.” One is eating grandma and the other is eating with grandma.

Overlooking multiple commas is where I get down to business. Doing such an inconceivable action will not only make readers furious, but it will absolutely demolish your bewildering story.

This action not only changes the fabulous plot but it can change the eye-opening meaning. If this is for a school assessment, not only will you get an unthinkable grade but a confusing story that no one wants to read. Another reason misplacing commas makes me fuming because people are taught how to use unerring punctuation from the time they are 8 years old. Another reason this gets on my nerves is because too many times people are just flat out too lazy to use punctuation correctly. I know for a fact that when I use good grammar, I am more confident in my mind-blowing piece.

By DEVIN WEEKS

Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — Pesky misused commas, you’ve got nothing on punctuation professional Porter Davis.

Porter, an eighth-grader at Canfield Middle School, penned a winning essay in the 2019 National Punctuation Day contest. He was among just 12 students from across the United States to snag this honor. He’s also the only student from Idaho — or any Western state — to be recognized for his perfectionistic punctuation prowess.

He may just be a copy editor in the making.

“I feel great. It’s very exciting," Porter said Thursday.

Porter, a writing enthusiast, submitted his essay in October. He and his language arts teacher, Tara Nelson, were more than delighted when it was announced that Porter's cleverly crafted comma commentary was a winner.

"I am elated," Nelson said. "Porter and I have been on pins and needles.

"When I found out he was a winner, I had to tell the world,” she added. "I want to celebrate his successes, and I just love that he wanted to share his writing and his opinion with the world."

Porter said his comma complaints came to be the subject of his essay after reading other people's writing and stumbling over awkward comma placements.

The prompt from the National Punctuation Day essay contest asked, “What punctuation error annoys you the most?"

"I don't like reading other students’ work and finding a comma, and I randomly pause in the middle of a sentence, and I have to re-read the sentence to have it make sense," Porter said.

Students were also asked to find an online meme that illustrates the one punctuation error that "sets them off, that makes them scream, that gets them into correction mode.”

Porter chose a hilarious comma meme about the "Shatner" comma, which peppers in commas "so, you know where, to add, dramatic pauses."

"It doesn't make a teacher more proud than to see their students be successful," Nelson said. "It's even more meaningful because he's such a cool kid. To see him celebrated in this way is just awesome."

Porter will receive National Punctuation Day gifts, including a commemorative pen, ruler, question mark-shaped stress toy and bookmarks, as well as a copy of "The Elements of Style," the Bible of writing style for more than 100 years.

"Punctuation is important because the better you are at writing, the smarter it makes you look," Porter said. "Writing is an important skill. You use it every day, in jobs pretty much everywhere."

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