Saturday, April 28, 2018

Thanks to those of you who submitted ideas for future blog posts; they will be used in upcoming months.

Randall Ponder, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Your Ideas

Periodically, I ask readers to submit topics that are of interest to them. So if you have a question or comment about something that is related to communication and has grammar overtones, please email me at Your ideas are important to me; and if you’re interested in it, then I am as well.

Using the context of practical grammar and exceptional personal communication practices, I write about those things that impact our daily lives.

Thank you for your suggestions, and I will see you next time.

Randall Ponder, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Readers and Questions

Last month's post garnered an unusually high number of reader emails. Thanks to those of you who sent me your comments.

In January, I examined a current-day phenomenon that is everywhere; by everywhere, I mean everywhere. My goal was to bring some needed attention to the widespread practice of asking questions within declarative sentences or statements. Why is it that many of us insert question-mark-tones into declarative statements? Is this acceptable, and what are its implications for you as a communicator?

The post resonated with you for several reasons, it seems. Today, I’ll list the top-three reasons that you gave me as to why discussing the overuse of questioning tones is timely and important to you.

Readers say:

1. It’s annoying and distracting. One reader said that he “took extra care when listening to commentators on television and radio. It was all too exasperating, and I feel that this communication problem will never end and we’ll just have to tolerate it.” Another reader observed that she was so furious with professional speakers and journalists who could not shake this tiresome habit, that she quit watching certain news and entertainment programs.

2. I am aware of it when I do it. A reader said that after observing others talking this way every day, he is more conscious of it and has significantly decreased his tendency to do just that.

3. I am more tuned in to others. One reader said that she has become more mindful of what others are trying to communicate. As a result, she is more focused on how she speaks and what she writes as well.  

Randall Ponder, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Please Try This For Today?

I’m not sure if the title of this blog post makes any sense to you at first glance, and it may be slightly irritating. But that is precisely my point.

Today’s post is part of a series highlighting some of the most easily-fixed personal communication situations that, when changed, will have the most positive impact for you in the quickest amount of time.

Next time you’re in the following situations, pay attention to how others are talking.

You’re in a group and everyone’s chatting among themselves.

On a television program, all sorts of people are commenting on the news of the day.

Now take a 30-second flashback to your 7th Grade English class. What was one of the first things that our teachers taught us? This would be the four types of sentences.

1. Declarative. Randall writes the blog post.
2. Imperative. Randall – write the blog post right now.
3. Exclamatory. Randall is writing the blog post!
4. Interrogative. Randall is writing the blog post?

What our teachers tried to tell us is not all theoretical; it is practical advice that guides us each day as we communicate. Each type of sentence has its place and nothing is wrong with any of them—unless they’re used improperly when writing or speaking.

Go back to my earlier request about observing others talking while in a group or on television. Have you ever noticed when others end a declarative sentence with a question mark?

As in:

“That person should coordinate everything a little better?”


“My suggestion is to get him to clarify his policies?”


"I'm going to the store? And then I'm going to get some groceries?"  

How do you feel about this? Something’s not right with the above-three statements, and if we recognize the ubiquity of these declarations-turned-questions, then we are 95% along the way of helping ourselves avoid this communication mistake.

In writing or conversation, legitimate questions should end with a question mark. If you have a declarative point to make, avoid ending it with a question mark; use a period. Infrequent exceptions to this rule are ok, especially if you're trying to add a little uncertainty to your response, vary your words, or highlight the questioning tone of your statement.

When non-questions are framed as questions, they mislead, confuse the person listening to you, cause irritation with others, and give everyone the impression that you’re unsure of yourself.

Randall Ponder, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA