Punctual to a Point

While thinking about the word punctuation today (which is the kind of thing I do), I considered how similar the word punctuality is to it. I wondered what the link could be. It seemed to me that the concept they share is exactitude. Punctuation allows one to be precise in their meaning in a sentence, and if one is extremely punctual, one allows arrive at the exact moment one should.

And unsurprisingly, both come from the same root word: punctus, the Latin word for point. Which makes a lot of sense. Punctuality, though is an interesting concept. Of course it’s a positive one that we value, overall. We hate if our friends are late when meeting up (if we’re normal).  But do we ever admire it? Like the person who never misses a day off work through sickness, are we really impressed by someone who’s never late? Or does it annoy us? Do we think they’re too perfect, too punctilious? I think is why punctuality is often invoked as a kind of back-handed compliment in that great bastion of reading-between-the-lines: the job reference. Continue reading