52 posts tagged with punctuation.
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An interrobang meets a certitude mark in 1910s Germany ...

Okay, what the heck is this thing? A friend who studies Comparative Literature found an unidentifiable punctuation mark that looks like a cross between a double-dagger, an exclamation point, and a hyphen, pictured here. [more inside]
posted by jpolchlopek on Sep 6, 2016 - 5 answers

Whose famous last "words" were a punctuation mark?

I recall reading, some years ago, about a semi-famous intellectual--I believe it was a philosopher, or theologian, or author--who, on his/her deathbed, wrote a single punctuation mark as his/her last "words." The mark was either a comma or a semicolon, if I recall correctly. No matter how hard I try, I can't find the answer via Google.
posted by duffell on Apr 15, 2016 - 9 answers

On Quotation and Punctuation

Should a sentence end with a quotation mark or the punctuation mark? [more inside]
posted by ourt on Apr 30, 2015 - 23 answers

Please check my colon

Please help settle a debate. Is the colon in the following sentence used properly? "Disagreement about climate change is rarely a simple dispute about facts: people’s interpretation of climate change information is influenced by cognitive factors and motivated reasoning." Thank you.
posted by griseus on Mar 3, 2015 - 23 answers

How did you stop typing two spaces after the end of a sentence?

Putting two spaces after a period/?! is out of favor now, and apparently has been for a while depending on who you ask. How did you break yourself of this habit? Even typing this I was thinking about it and still had to go back and correct each one! [more inside]
posted by SpookyFish on Nov 14, 2014 - 43 answers

Help Me Trace Leakers

I need to send a confidential email to a few hundred people, and I expect "leaks". No biggie, but I'd like to weed the recipient list before proceeding with this discrete project (nothing illegal; just best kept hushed until the appropriate time). My idea is to tweak punctuation, word choice, and spacing to make each version unique, so leakers (who'd likely cut/paste from the email) can be identified. Are there apps to make the job easier? Scripts? Suggestions? I could do this by hand, keeping a table to catalog the alterations, but it'd take hours.
posted by Quisp Lover on Sep 22, 2014 - 20 answers

Cemeteries -- use of a period?

I was walking in an old cemetery last weekend, and I noticed that many of the tombstones dating from around the late 19th to the early 20th centuries used a period after the surname on the tombstone: "JONES." and not "JONES" by itself. Can anybody point me to any resources for learning about this particular style convention?
posted by JanetLand on Jul 29, 2014 - 5 answers

Advice for confident everyday writing?

I'm looking for related resources (online & offline) for improving my writing skills for everyday work. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Jul 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Mr. Clemens vs. the Semi-colon.

I could swear I read a quote once, attributed to Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain about how much he hates semi-colons. I can't find it anymore. I found one by Vonnegut, but I really wanted the one by Twain (if there even is one).
posted by From Bklyn on Sep 11, 2013 - 6 answers

What's going on with the comma placement ,here?

I'm on a dating site and I've noticed that in the profiles and messages of some non-native English speakers there's a pattern of irregular spacing around commas. I don't believe that it is a random typographical error, as I have seen it repeatedly by different writers. Here's an example: "I like to go to the party ,park,movies ,I like to go hike ,swimming ,travel " The above example is from a native Arabic speaker. Is this related to the grammatical construction of a particular language, differences in keyboards, or something else?
posted by aspen1984 on Aug 29, 2013 - 13 answers

hyphens vs. en dashes

How would you use hyphens and en dashes in the following phrase: "one to three year jail sentence"? [more inside]
posted by Ollie on Jun 20, 2013 - 17 answers

When did become OK to drop the comma after a state?

In the past week or so I have seen numerous constructions like this headline and lead sentence ("Erik Loomis argues that the reason we don’t see more tragedies like West, Texas is because the US has outsourced industries to places like Bangladesh..."). Should there not be a comma after "Texas" in that headline and sentence? I have even had writers tell me that editors (on internet sites) have actively removed the second comma in a mid-sentence "Cityname, State, ... " construction. Is it not still "West, Texas, ..."? Punctuation police—can we get a ruling? Are standards shifting, or is this just a case of bad editing?
posted by stargell on Apr 25, 2013 - 30 answers

Converting a US-formatted Microsoft Word document to UK formatting?

Is there a way (a macro perhaps?) to change the spellings and punctuation in a Microsoft Word document (.docx) from "American" style to "British" (or should I say, 'British') style in one fell swoop? [more inside]
posted by dhens on Mar 11, 2013 - 7 answers

Use of commas after dates

When a sentence includes a date (month, day, and year), is it always proper to set off the year with commas? [more inside]
posted by southern_sky on Feb 28, 2012 - 9 answers

Punctuation for a list of people including their credentials

[PunctuationFilter] When you are writing a list of people with their credentials, do you separate the person with their credentials from the next person with their credentials with commas? [more inside]
posted by Kimberly on Feb 16, 2012 - 13 answers

Turn two hyphens -- into M dash – and three periods ... into ellipsis … in Firefox?

Firefox / WIN7: I type in two hyphens IE -- and word processor (LibreOffice Writer) changes them into M dash IE – which is what I would love to see happen in Firefox. Alternately, if this cannot be done, is there a simple way to do this with some sort of macro on my puter? Plus, hey, while we're here, can we turn three periods IE ... into an ellipsis IE … ? (Hewlett Packard HP 630 laptop, if it matters.) [more inside]
posted by dancestoblue on Nov 6, 2011 - 9 answers

Whither the indent?

Whither indentations? I've noticed lately that people are not using paragraph indentations for business correspondence and other public writing (e.g., public policy whitepapers.) Why is this? Is it good or bad?
posted by yarly on Sep 7, 2011 - 27 answers

How do we know when they're really speaking Klingon?

How should I denote transitions between languages in a story I'm working on? [more inside]
posted by mordax on Jul 28, 2011 - 18 answers

How do I punctuate a list of book titles in a sentence?

Punctuation question -- Are the semicolons correct in separating the list of book titles in the following sentence, or should I use commas? "John and Susan offer workshops based on the following books: Making Cheese: A Guide; Cheese is Your Friend: A Method for Success; and Expand Your Horizons: Give Cheese a Chance."
posted by kim in chicago on Jul 3, 2011 - 23 answers


Why, oh why, does Chrome do thisÉ [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne on May 27, 2011 - 15 answers

Oh, English.

Punctuation filter: Comma, colon, semicolon, dash? Is what I'm saying even grammatically correct? [more inside]
posted by a.steele on Jun 10, 2010 - 24 answers

Hyphens in fractions?

When writing fractions as words, under what circumstances do you hyphenate them? [more inside]
posted by stenoboy on May 14, 2010 - 6 answers

How to handle this punctuation problem when using copy/paste

Copy and paste issues with quote and apostrophe marks. [see within] [more inside]
posted by Postroad on Feb 11, 2010 - 16 answers

How, and whether, to hyphenate and/or apostrophize?

Punctuation question: hyphen, plural possessive apostrophe, both, or neither? [more inside]
posted by thebazilist on Jan 13, 2010 - 24 answers

Help a Yank punctuate like a Brit.

BritishPunctuationFilter: I'm an American editor preparing a author's manuscript that will soon be submited to a British publisher, and I have three exciting questions regarding dashes, hyphens, and apostrophes! [more inside]
posted by scody on Dec 10, 2009 - 8 answers

Comma, semi-colon, or ?

Punctuation-filter: When opening a sentence with the phrase, "Per my discussion with Mr. White __ I am writing you regarding..." What goes in the "__"? [more inside]
posted by wfrgms on Jun 5, 2009 - 24 answers

Semi-colon usage

Semi-colon usage: "My name's John; I'm a carpenter and I enjoy repairing old homes and building new ones." [more inside]
posted by boosh on Mar 27, 2009 - 29 answers

An apostrophe question that is slightly different, I swear.

Punctuation question. Gentle reader - what connotation do you get from seeing Jesus' or Jesus's OR Niklas' or Niklas's? (Possessives with or without the 's' for nouns ending in 's'.) [more inside]
posted by typewriter on Jan 23, 2009 - 43 answers

To Rely on the Editor

Looking for examples in literature where the author had to rely on his/her editor rather heavily. I'm thinking of instances where the authors were capable of spinning a good yarn, yet they had trouble with grammar, structure, punctuation, etc. [more inside]
posted by captainsohler on Dec 29, 2008 - 23 answers

Is 'who knows' a question?

Is 'Who knows' a question? [more inside]
posted by gummo on Oct 6, 2008 - 12 answers

Punctuation Puzzle

Is this good use of punctuation? The adept poster: one of nobility, wisdom and wit, is the superior MeFite. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Sep 2, 2008 - 17 answers


Punctuation filter: How would I hyphenate "... climate change related disclosures", or "... climate change specific patterns"? [more inside]
posted by stenoboy on Aug 26, 2008 - 20 answers

Is this a dagger I see before me, footnote toward my hand?

MetaStyle: When using a superscripted dagger (cross) to indicate a footnote, should the footnote at the bottom of the page be preceded by a superscripted dagger or a regular-sized dagger? Should there be a space between the dagger and the footnote? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Jul 14, 2008 - 16 answers

Is there a consensus on the grammatical relationship between emoticons and punctuation?

Is there a consensus on the grammatical relationship between emoticons and punctuation? [more inside]
posted by mkultra on Apr 8, 2008 - 37 answers

Self-referential Asterisks

What is the origin of using asterisks to bracket a self-referential action statement? [more inside]
posted by Tube on Dec 8, 2007 - 27 answers

How do you punctuate zeugma?

How do you punctuate an elliptical sentence structure? 1) Paul ate the tuna casserole; Mary, the taco salad. OR 2) Paul ate the tuna casserole, Mary the taco salad. I'm feeling frustrated that I'm coming across many published examples that I find confusing to read!
posted by SMP on Sep 13, 2007 - 36 answers

The Woodpecker

My eight year old wrote her latest poem, then asked about the subtleties of poetic punctuation (commas, periods, breaks ... and why such decisions are made... help! ). The poem is included, as of course ... [more inside]
posted by RMD on Jun 5, 2007 - 32 answers

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance"

I would like to know about the peculiarities in eighteenth-century writing. [more inside]
posted by nasreddin on Apr 16, 2007 - 10 answers

With a dash dash dash and a dot dot dot

What is the proper punctuation for this slogan? [more inside]
posted by nekton on Apr 13, 2007 - 19 answers

How to become a typography connoisseur?

I find myself fascinated with the intricacies of typography, punctuation, character sets etc. What books should a newbie read to become a connoisseur on these matters? [more inside]
posted by lifeless on Apr 11, 2007 - 15 answers

Which heavy metal bands have umlauts in their names?

Which heavy metal bands have umlauts in their names? Apart from Mötley Crüe and Motörhead, of course.
posted by tombola on Mar 30, 2007 - 21 answers

GoLive "stl:xxx" tags causing spacing woes

Anyone know anything at all about Adobe GoLive's use of -type HTML tags? Its insertion of these tags around dates, places, etc is causing extra spaces to pop up, throwing off proper punctuation and basically just making copytext look bad. [more inside]
posted by cyrusdogstar on Jan 9, 2007 - 4 answers

Why are people using ellipses instead of a period?

What has happened to people being able to properly use a single period to end a sentence? [more inside]
posted by The Bishop of Turkey on Dec 13, 2006 - 73 answers

Harry S Truman

In this article, a quotation reads "What is unique about Harry S Truman's name? His middle initial doesn't need a period after it". Why not?
posted by Heatwole on Nov 2, 2006 - 21 answers

Are there any languages that punctuate mood?

I just realized (I'm fairly slow that way) that suddenly, and without fanfare, every language on Earth, excepting North-Korean and maybe a smattering of others, has acquired mood punctuation i.e. emoticons. Much like a ? indicates that the preceding sentence was a question, a jocular sentence is marked with a :)
Now, here comes my question. Are there any languages that have mood punctuation that pre-exists the internet? Or something similar? Markings that indicate a mood, feeling or emotion in any way? [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 4, 2006 - 21 answers

Full stop, no stop, or what?

How do I end a sentence that's a list item? [more inside]
posted by pdb on Jun 14, 2006 - 20 answers

Inverted Question Mark in Outlook Express on Windows Laptop?

How do type an upside down question mark in Outlook Express? (for Spanish class)
posted by alball on Jan 28, 2005 - 15 answers

Italics etiquette for CD inserts?

PunctuationFilter: I'm writing the copy for a CD insert booklet in which the title of a book is mentioned. Typically, I'd italicize it, but the entire piece is already in italics. What's the standard here?
posted by plexiwatt on Dec 6, 2004 - 18 answers

Why do people leave a space before end of sentence punctuation?

When (and where, and maybe why) did people start doing this ? Is it mostly a UK/Europe thing ? Is it only occasional or a valid trend now ?
(Another question about a grammar anomaly, but I'm not complaining this time, only curious. This one only occurs in informal [Internet] communication and for some reason I enjoy it: a space between sentence end and final punctuation, when punctuation is a '!' or '?' Mostly UK- and Ireland-ers do it, like sgt serenity [a mad Scotsman] here.)
posted by Shane on Mar 27, 2004 - 22 answers

Business communication doesn't use question marks. (?)

People in my company often use a period instead of a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence. I pointed this out to an old boss as I was proofing one of his e-mails, and he told me this is standard custom now in business communication. Is this so? What the hell? [more inside]
posted by Shane on Mar 25, 2004 - 44 answers

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