“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” –Oscar Wilde Only Oscar Wilde could be quite so frivolous when describing a matter as grave as the punctuation of poetry, something that causes particular grief in our […]
Punctuation is the art of clarifying how a group of words falls together into contractions, clauses, and sentences. Unfortunately, it is not at all clear how some punctuation marks should be used! Let’s take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks. Even if you think you’ve got the topic all sewn up, it’s […]
Chances are that you use them every day – from ‘ to # and ? to . – but where did common punctuation marks get their names? Ampersand The ampersand is the sign &, used to mean ‘and’. The shape of the symbol originated as a ligature for the Latin et (‘and’) – that is, it […]
Is there anything more important than punctuation? Providing us with stops, pauses, exclamations, questions, and even social media savvy, punctuation marks have been breaking up and clarifying our language for quite some time. Spend a few moments taking our quiz and learn which punctuation mark best captures your personality!
The presence or lack of a comma before and or or in a list of three or more items is the subject of much debate. Such a comma is known as a serial comma. For a century it has been part of Oxford University Press style to retain or impose this last comma consistently, to […]
“The apostrophe is the most troublesome punctuation mark in English, and perhaps also the least useful. No other punctuation mark causes so much bewilderment, or is so often misused.” R.L. Trask, The Penguin Guide to Punctuation A recent decision by Devon County Council to drop the apostrophe from its road signs was met with dismay and anger […]
In the phrase ‘under the auspices of ’, what are auspices? The root of auspices and the more familiar adjective auspicious are closely linked. If something is auspicious it bodes well, giving promise of a favourable outcome. In Roman times, people tried to predict future events by watching the behaviour of birds and animals. An […]