Ho Ho How Do You Punctuate That?


It’s getting to be that time of year when children close their eyes and fantasize about an old, fat man breaking into their house while they sleep naïvely in false security in their bedrooms.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” the man says to himself as he places consumer goods under a tree that for some reason has been moved to their living room.

Wait. Perhaps he says “Ho ho ho!” instead. Just how many exclamation points does this slavemaster of reindeer use?

Let’s turn to the authorities. Here’s what Merriam-Webster has to say:

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 10.24.56 AM.png

There you have it. Three hos and one exclamation point.

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas (etc.) to you!

Erin Servais is a professional book editor who is really hoping she won’t get coal this Christmas. Learn more about how she can help you reach your publishing goals here: Dot and Dash website.

Sign up for the Dot and Dash newsletter to get writing tips and tricks and exclusive deals.  

Follow Dot and Dash on social media.
Twitter: @GrammarParty
Instagram: @dot_and_dash_llc
Facebook: facebook.com/dotanddashllc
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/dotanddashllc

Like turkeys voting for an early Christmas

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending the last two weeks in a feverish race to finish end-of-the-year work projects, purchase Christmas presents, and get everything sorted so you can enjoy the most Martha Stewart-worthy holiday. The result: not enough sleep, short tempers, and general humbuggedness.

Perhaps we are like turkeys voting for an early Christmas.

This is my favorite Christmas-related idiom. As the second edition of the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary explains, this idiom is used mostly in Britain and Australia (where the people tend to have a perverse sense of humor more aligned with my own). To explain this idiom: if a person is like a turkey voting for an early Christmas, they accept a situation that will yield very bad results for them. The saying uses turkeys because they are a favorite cooked dish at Christmas dinners. Get it? Like turkeys voting for an early Christmas. Ha!

Since this common pre-holiday rampage so many of us get involved in tends to yield the bad results I mentioned earlier, I think it’s fair to use this idiom.

Here are more turkey-ish examples:

When Zowie signed up to organize the humongous family reunion, she was like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.

The exasperated science teacher signed up to take on two more classes. Boy, he’s like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.

Santa has been too busy drinking spiked eggnog to make his lists and check them twice—just like a turkey voting for an early Christmas.

So, are you feeling like a turkey this time of year? Maybe using this idiom (and perhaps shouting it very loudly in crowded shopping malls) will make you feel better. Otherwise, you can always feel free to vent to me.