Happy National Punctuation Day!

Are you a stickler for punctuation? Do you know someone who is? Then this is YOUR day! Not only should you feel free to correct the mistakes of others (be nice please!), but really…why not use it as a day to check yourself!

And sure, we know about periods, commas and the basics, but this is also the day to celebrate obscure punctuation marks. Wanna get crazy? Check out the old-school Wingdings font – you’ll be surprised what’s hiding in there.

In the meantime, bring our your semicolons; your paragraph-signaling pilcrows; and of course, your exclamation marks! Here are a few examples of the less used items.

  • The interrobang: A combination exclamation point and question mark, the interrobang is a singular way to express an emphatic question. As in, "What?! It's National Punctuation Day?!"
  • The pilcrow: The character that looks like a fancy backward capital P is called the pilcrow; it marks the break between paragraphs. It came into use when scribes needed a character to show where one paragraph ended and the next began and fell into disuse (save for faithful editors) with the regular type of a printing press.
  • The guillemet: To Americans, << this >> looks like two sets of arrows. To a French reader, it looks like quotation marks. Use them and be <>
  • The irony mark: For English-speakers, an upside-down exclamation point at the beginning of a sentence has intermittently been used to indicate irony.
  • The quasi-quote: Put an underscore under a quotation mark and you'll get a quasi-quote, found in science fiction fanzines. It indicates that what's inside the quotes, is the gist of what was being said, but perhaps not the exact phrasing.

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