This first example begins with John reading an email from his new girlfriend. Consider how energized he might have felt to read this note from Jane:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?
Unfortunately Jane was terrible at punctuation so John misread her completely.. Of course, he read her words, but what he read wasn't what she meant to write. In fact, her message was the exact opposite of her intentions. Here is what she meant to write.
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
When she wrote John, Jane must have been comma-tose - a common affliction where a writer' unawareness of punctuation usage causes missed communication. Her actual consideration for writing a DEAR JOHN was lost in her thoughtlessness. So, John, was not at fault for believing one thing, when the exact opposite was true. Maybe humorous to some, yet Jane's communication omissions undoubtedly created further complications for the two. The cause and consequences are also omitted as we readers use our imagination to consider life possibilities and miscues. None of which make this tale anything but unfortunate and unnecessary.
Punctuation may seem like such a minor addition to communication; however, it is essential. Without a few small marks, our remarks are either remarkable or not. Communication is always the key to opening another's heart. Miscommunication can close one down in a heartbeat!