Punctuation Marks

I’m obviously not the only one who gets nerdy about this sort of thing.

There was a review by Sam Leitch in Saturday’s Guardian of the book Making a Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation by David Crystal. A review which I enjoyed immensely.

I particularly liked the two sentences, “The big four – comma, semicolon, colon and full stop – were for a long time, and insanely, regarded as precise measurements of a pause: a full stop was worth four commas. The book’s full of this sort of curio: interesting on first encounter; illuminating on investigation,” in which Leitch has deployed those marks with great care. The paragraph on Wordsworth and Humphry Davy and the possible punctuation of the parenthesis it coontained was also a delight.

And then there was the bit on defunct and obscure marks:- the asterism, (⁂); the dinkus (***) and the fleuron (stylised forms of flowers or leaves); the austere pilcrow (¶) and the honourable diple (>); the breve (or háček, in which it pleasingly appears) (˘) and the manicule (a pointing hand); or the caret (^).

I’ll not go so far as to read the book itself though. I’ve too much else on.

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  1. Denis Cullinan

    QUOTE: the breve (or háček, in which it pleasingly appears) and the manicule (a pointing hand)

    I’ve been hunting for a long time to find out the name of that little v-shaped thingie that you see in Czech. words. Learning about the manicule is new for me.

    Keep up the good work, Jack.

    Where do you get the tome and energy?

  2. jackdeighton

    Denis,
    The breve, as in háček, is actually curved. In smallish print it just looks like a v.
    I don’t know where I find the time. Retirement has helped though.

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