Common Application - Additional Information

August 2, 2008
By Andrea Garcia-Vargas, Dublin, OH

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Why is there always that character limit? What if I don't believe that a question mark is worth a character?
Haha, I know that paradoxical of me, considering I'm using an abundance of question marks, aren't I? And isn't it true that if question marks didn't exist, it'd be rather hard to let the other person know you're requesting information, wouldn't it? What would happen if exclamation points disappeared, though?
I don't think they'd be that sorely missed, now, would they?
Well, I believe that 2000 characters is not as small a space as I thought!
Glory Hallelujah!!!!
But just think, maybe exclamation point extinction would be a terrible thing!
How hard it'd be to let people know you were excited!
Now, instead of being able to tell a friend, "I loved your party!" all I'd be able to say would be, "I loved your party" - which is rather dull and trite, come to think about it!
Oh - seeing that I used dialogue in the last sentence, I wonder whether or not quotation marks are really that important!
I'm sure some idiots will say, "Well, duh, they're important. It's speech, dude, and you need to distinguish it from everything else."
But I prefer to say, "Well, if Spanish-speaking people use dashes, I doubt quotation marks are truly necessary. It's us needy Anglophones that invented this futile thingamabob."
However, what if I wanted to write a story? How would readers know that my main character Louisa was saying, "She broke her tooth on apple pie" if I didn't use quotation marks - it'd sound like I was the narrator describing Louisa! And of course, we can't have readers creating online discussion questions like "What is the significance of Louisa breaking her tooth on apple pie" when it was Gertie that underwent it!
No, I change my mind; quotation marks ARE important.
Semicolons, though, are beasts. They are confusing; they imitate the period; and they annoy people who don't like to be constantly winked at. Indeed, they are useless; they are superfluous; have I made myself clear?
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The author's comments:
I'm already beginning to fill out college applications . . . there's a section on the last electronic page online that asks you to list any additional information that you may have in 2000 characters. I wasn't quite sure how much I'd be able to write in 2000 characters, so I began to idly write . . . and write . . . and then, by the time there were no characters left, I'd written this informal essay on punctuation.

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