Punctuation: It’s not just for emoticons

Today is National Punctuation Day, on which we celebrate the useful tools around the edges of our keyboards. Some — such as , and . —  we use all the time so they are closest at hand and do not even require using “shift.” Some, such as ; , have enjoyed a renaissance through emoticons….

Happy National Punctuation Day!

Today, Sept. 24, is National Punctuation Day — admittedly, a created holiday, like National Donut Day, and, like National Donut Day, it’s a holiday that celebrates something worthy of celebration. (Yes, there are seven commas in that sentence. Plus a dash and an apostrophe, and the obligatory period.) Punctuation is like road signs for writing….

Don’t sweat it: Serial comma

Want to start an argument in a group of editors? Bring up the serial comma. The serial (also called Oxford) comma is the comma that comes right before the conjunction in a list of items. For some reason, word people tend to get really worked up about this one little mark. (There’s even a song…

Why we need hyphens

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Feb. 25, 2011. One of the regular features we do on Twitter is “Why we need hyphens”: phrases that have different meanings depending on whether there’s a hyphen. These usually occur when a noun has a compound modifier, that is, a modifier that is made up of more than…

Why we need punctuation

Originally published on Grammar Monkeys on Sept. 24, 2010. Punctuation marks are like road signs for readers: they show you where you’re going and what’s ahead. If they’re missing or wrong, a reader can get lost. So, in honor of National Punctuation Day today, here are a few examples of why we need punctuation: Because…

Never fear the semicolon

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Feb. 23, 2010 The semicolon is a much-misused, often maligned, but elegant and useful piece of punctuation. Neither a period nor a comma, the semicolon links in some instances and divides in others. There’s no need to be afraid of it; there are only three main instances when you…