9 Ways To Say Jonathan Franzen Is Sassy
My favorite punctuation is the question mark. I’m a curious, research-oriented kind of guy, so it fits.
My least favorite? The exclamation point. I hate them. Up until recently, I never used exclamation points in my writing. But I’ve recently started scattering them around every now and then to be ironic or to actually show a small amount of forced enthusiasm. I also don’t mind using them in casual writing.
When it comes to punctuation in the English language, here’s what I find interesting–and what must be a nightmare for non-native speakers. You can write the exact same thing and, by using different punctuation, change the meaning a dozen times.
Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you want to make a comment about Jonathan Franzen’s vivacious personality. You might say:
Jonathan Franzen is sassy.
Now there’s a nice, declarative statement. Straight to the point. But you might want to inject a little forced energy, so you say:
Jonathan Franzen is sassy!
Wowsers! That’s some excitable writing! But maybe you want to tone back the energy, and just let your thoughts about Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness tail off a little bit.
Jonathan Franzen is sassy…
With the ending ellipses, you don’t want to take a firm stand on Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness. You’re making a statement, but you’re also implying there might be more to the story. You’re adding mystery to the element of Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness. Well played. Another fun way to implement the ellipses:
Jonathan Franzen is…sassy.
Oh, you’re so dramatic. We were waiting. We knew you had some insight into Jonathan Franzen. And those three little dots added so much drama. Were you going to say he loves pomegranates or is a pioneer of fashion? We never knew until you finally told us about his sassiness.
Jonathan Franzen is sassy?
Really? Jonathan Franzen is sassy? I never knew that. Are you sure about this? I swear I read somewhere that he actually isn’t very sassy at all, that people approach him in the street and say, “Wow, you just aren’t that sassy, are you?” But here you are saying he is sassy.
“Jonathan Franzen is sassy.”
It wasn’t me. You see, that other guy said Franzen is sassy. That’s why it’s in quotes. Don’t blame me if rumors begin spreading about him being sassy. Not my fault. Those are quotation marks right there, my friend.
“Jonathan Franzen is…sassy.”
How about this one? It’s excellent usage of the quotation marks AND the ellipses. Maybe your friend says, “Jonathan Franzen is lactose intolerant and sassy,” and you love that insight into his sassiness, but you don’t really care about his lactose issues, so some quotation marks here and an ellipses there, and voila!
Jonathan Franzy [is] sassy.
Ah yes, the brackets. This one is an article-writing trick that is often used ethically, but it could be misused if that was one’s desire. So let’s say Jonathan Franzen used to have a sasstastic personality, but, in recent years, has mellowed out on the sass-o-meter. He is sassy no more, but you’re not a fan and you want to misrepresent the current state of Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness. The bracket lets you easily change was to [is], thereby making Jonathan Franzen’s hard-earned sassiness rehabilitation obsolete.
Jonathan Franzen is sassy.
Think Tim Gunn’s voice as you read this one. For example: “Designers, I’d like to see that low-cut jean skirt you’ve always dreamed of designing. Make it sassy.” The italics just give a little added emphasis to Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness. You know that he isn’t your average run-of-the-mill sassy author. He’s no William Gibson or Philip Roth. This Franzen guy, he’s really sassy.
Maybe there’s other ways to talk about Jonathan Franzen’s sassiness, but I’m sassed out.
What about an asterisk? Hashtag? Creative way to use a colon or semicolon?
What are some other ways to say the same thing?
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)