Why Spaces and Punctuation are Good

The internet is truly amazing.  Like all new technology it provides heretofore unanticipated opportunities for great good (and, sadly, great evil).

One unanticipated result from the internet is the confusion and unintended humor.  I’m not talking about the web sites one can visit, but the addresses we use to get to those web sites.

The other day I was driving behind a truck and saw a web address for the company.  It said, as I read it, “T Women and a Truck.”  Of course, what it really said was “Two Men and a Truck.”  It was at that moment that I realized that the people who participated in the evolution of our language were very smart to have invented spaces, and the people who make the rules for computer communication didn’t foresee the consequences of taking spaces out.

Numerous places on the internet provide examples of web addresses that can be misconstrued in various ways.  I’ll let you figure out what is funny about each one:

“Who Represents” is a site where you can find the name of the agent that represents any given celebrity. Their web site is: www.whorepresents.com.  Looking for a pen? Look no further than “Pen Island” at:  www.penisland.net.

Need a therapist? Try “Therapist Finder” at:  www.therapistfinder.com.  There’s the Italian power generator company called:  www.powergenitalia.com, and if you’re looking for PC remote access software, there’s always:  www.ipanywhere.com

And the designers at “Speed of Art” await you at their site: www.speedofart.com

A few other current or former web sites include one for The Experts Exchange: www.expertsexchange.com, the tourism site called Choose Spain: www.choosespain.com, a wonderful site on parenting named Children’s Laughter: www.childrenslaughter.com, and a professional support group named Teachers Talking: www.teacherstalking.org.

Unfortunately, a surprising number of these web addresses are way too graphic to share here, which begs the question as to whether the people coming up with those web sites were oblivious, or were picking racy site names to get attention.  I think they just didn’t see the alternative spacing and the unfortunate phrases that resulted.

Spaces are like invisible punctuation.  You have probably heard the following as an example of the importance of punctuation:

  1. Let’s eat, Grandma!
  2. Let’s eat Grandma!

As I said, the internet provides us with the good and the bad, and also, apparently, with the serious and the amusing.   And sometimes the funny things are on purpose!


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