Punctuation: five fun facts

It’s National Punctuation Day! So I thought I’d share five more-interesting-than-it-sounds trivia about punctuation.

Because I KNOW you comms creatives have a sneaky obsession with punctuation.

1. Do you correctly use hyphens and dashes?

I have discovered the difference between the three dashes: – – —

Did you know this?

  • Hyphens join words: eg. they’re word-joiners.
  • En dashes are a bit longer than hyphens. They’re the width of the letter ‘N’, and they show range: eg. 14–16 cm.
  • The em dash is the width of the letter M & used when emphasis is required — like when you’re trying to make a point.

2. May I have your @tention?

The @ symbol, which you may know as the ‘at’ is called:‬

‪🇳🇱 A monkey’s tail in the Netherlands 🐒‬ ‪

🇮🇱 A strudel in Israel 🥣‬ ‪

🇷🇺 A little dog in Russia 🐕 ‬ ‪

🇮🇹 A small snail in Italy 🐌 ‬ ‪

🇧🇦 A crazy A in Bosnia 🤪‬

🇬🇷 A little duck in Greece 🦆

🇩🇰 Elephant trunk in Denmark 🐘

3. The hash is a re-hash

The # we know as ‘a hashtag’, was originally called an octothorpe.

The symbol was added to a button on telephone keypads to make them a neat square, and named by Bell Labs employees.

4. Got an exciting or amusing question?! You need an interrobang!

I want us to all admire and use the interrobang.

The interrobang, also known as the interabang, is a punctuation mark that combines the functions of the question mark and the exclamation mark.

Here it is: ‽‽‽‽‽

My boyfriend and I listened to this great podcast episode about the interrobang while we were on holiday. We know how to live, right‽

5. The comma could cost your brand millions of quid.

In 1999, a misplaced comma in a contract cost aerospace company Lockheed Martin $70 million. Oops.

Read more about this comms horror story.

Comms training with me.

If you need a masterclass in creative communications, I am your woman.

You can join one of my awesome interactive online courses, or book me to come to your offices to deliver training where you work.

You get workbooks, goodie bags and most importantly, you’ll be bursting with skills, confidence and creativity.

1 thought on “Punctuation: five fun facts

  1. Pingback: Árni Svanur

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