In my previous life, as a tortured teacher, I prided myself on knowing all the punctuation marks in the English language and when to use them.
I still do.
I notice too that apostrophe misuse seems to be on the rise – so I thought I’d get my chalk out and teach anyone listening a lesson on punctuation.
I was playing Trivial Pursuit on Christmas Day and I was a bit taken aback to find there was a punctuation mark I’d never heard of: a tittle.
Yes a tittle.
Do you know what one is? Without googling? If you do, you know more than me.
A tittle is the dot above an i or j – see there’s two tittles there (does that make them a tittle tattle?)
You learn something new about punctuation every day.
I also read an amusing tweet (well it amused me as a grammar and spelling pedant) about Star Wars – apparently the closing credits had an omission of a dot in an ellipsis – just tw0 (..) instead of the normal three …
And this ruined the fellow pedant’s enjoyment of the film!
So tittle and ellipsis covered now on to some real basics:
- The comma – used in lists, and to splice sentences, to give the reader a breather if you like.
- The full stop – ends a sentence obviously and makes the letter followng it a capital.
- The question mark – used for questions I think?
- The exclamation mark – used for ahem exclamations!
- The colon: introduces a list usually.
- The semi-colon – the seesaw punctuation mark – not as definite as a full stop or as weedy as a comma. It balances sentence clauses; neatly juxtaposing ideas.
- The hyphen – the quickest punctuation mark as it’s a dash.
- Inverted commas – used in “speech.”
And finally the apostrophe, which will occupy a whole blog post on its own as it is needs a longer lesson and I think your attention spans simply won’t cope.
So, watch Get Pro Copy’s blog posts for one on apostrophes – I won’t let you down.