Saturday, November 28, 2015

Today in punctuation

The occasional comma that makes all the difference:

A North Carolina fourth-grader has earned a lifetime of free haircuts after accepting a challenge from his barber.

“He said if I bring my report card back and it’s straight A’s I will get free haircuts for the rest of my life,” Kamarian Fox, 9, told Fox & Friends’ “Hometown Hero” segment Saturday.

Kamarian got his first free hair cut at the Next Level Barbershop in Gastonia, N.C., last week after proudly showing barber Mike Shelton his latest report card.

And the result?

“I was just blown away, honestly,” Shelton told Fox & Friends.  “Honestly, I forgot to be honest. He came up to me and handed me the report card. I was like, man what is this and I opened it up and I just seen A, A, A, A.”

The video clip is less ambiguous, because it includes some stuff Fox left out here. Rather than "I forgot to be honest," it comes out "Honestly, like, at first ... honestly, I forgot, to be honest with you, Clayton." (And the part after "A, A, A, A" makes it even clearer: "and I was like, oh, man, i remembered.")

We could have an interesting talk about whether this qualifies as doctoring a quote or just neatening it up around the edges a little (and whether Fox could have been politer to its sources with better use of partial quotes and paraphrasing). And we could have a wonderful time figuring out how this became the evening's No. 4 story (below). But one would hope we can all agree that there's a difference between "I forgot to be honest" and "I forgot, to be honest."

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