Punctuation: five fun facts

by | Sep 24, 2019

Untitled design (3)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’, has a different name in many countries:

‪🇳🇱 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.

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  1. Árni Svanur - […] The Comms Creative blog on dashes: […]

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Hel Reynolds

Hel Reynolds

Author of this post

Hel is social media trainer and boss of Comms Creatives. She has been working in comms since 2005, and has been brushing up her expertise in social media for brands since the good old days of MySpace. She also draws the Comms Cartoons, and is usually attached to a mug of coffee.

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