Tuesday, February 19, 2008

; !

Yesterday's New York Times had a nice little article about my second-favorite punctuation mark, the semicolon. The lede of the story is that a new subway placard, reminding riders to throw away their newspapers, properly--even elegantly--used a semicolon. Such a marvel! The article then touched on the use and misuse of the shy but intimidating character.

My favorite passage in the story: "David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam serial killer who taunted police and the press with rambling handwritten notes, was, as the columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote, the only murderer he ever encountered who could wield a semicolon just as well as a revolver."

I mention the article here even though I don't expect anyone else to follow that link or care. That's part of the story's charm.

What? Doesn't everybody have a second-favorite punctuation mark?


Sherwood Harrington said...

I don't know about favorite or second-favorite, but my least favorite is the interrobang.

My most-pitied punctuation mark would be the dot, the real, elevated dot, which now seems to have been dragged down to the level of a period.

Mike said...

The correction in the NYTimes article really makes it worth reading: Was the writer betrayed by lazy editing, or hoist in his own hubristic petard?

ronnie said...

I'll see your love of semi-colons and raise you one: not only did I care, I had already read the article before reading your blog because who could resist a story entitled "Celebrating the Semicolon in a Most Unlikely Location"?

The semi-colon is my favourite punctuation mark, followed by the question mark; but that upside-down question mark that Spanish writers use is definitely rising in the standings...

John said...

Never really thought about it before but if I were to examine it, my favorite is the exclamation point! It shows emotion, vitality and strength.


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