In rewatching one of my favorite episodes from the Starz series Outlander, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, it occurred to me that punctuation is crucially important.
Of course, we’ve all seen the funny Facebook memes: Let’s eat, Grandma vs Let’s eat Grandma.
And you know, the struggle is real.
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger and listened to records and songs on the radio, we pretty much had to guess what the lyrics actually said and meant, unless you were lucky enough to have them printed on the album’s liner notes. This was way before you were able to Google any lyrics you wanted to know.
And not knowing them often lead to many funny revelations later in life (“excuse me while I kiss this guy”).
And the song in this blog title is the same. Naturally, I knew what the main lyrics were, it’s hard to misunderstand Never My Love. However, that comma is important, especially when the remaining lyrics seem a bit harder to discern.
Growing up, I always thought in this song, “Never My Love” (no comma) meant that this man would never give his love to the person he was singing to. That always struck me as sad, I mean, really, why waste your time writing a song to a person that you are telling that you’ll never love.
Flash forward to this powerful, moving, visually impactful and emotional episode of Outlander, entitled “Never, My Love”. Here, this famous old song by The Association, is playing against the backdrop of a dream-like state while the main character was being brutalized. It was used to a compelling degree and played throughout the episode. Once I saw that comma in the title of the episode and saw the lyrics spelled out below in my closed caption setting, I realized that this is indeed a love song, sung by a man to his lover, quelling their doubts as to the nature, seriousness and longevity of their relationship together. Will you leave me? Never, my love. Will you every grow tired of me? Never, my love.
It is simply a response and declaration to a nervous partner.
Pretty big difference in meaning there, all proving my initial point, commas matter. Pay attention to them or ignore them at your peril.