The hunt for the true story behind Melville's hyphen is as mysterious as the famous white whale
Several writers and inventors in the last century tried to introduce new marks of punctuation into the English language - but they all failed. Keith Houston tells their story.
A Cambridge academic claims to have found the first use of a ‘brilliant innovation' that has endured as a mark of incomplete speech
Though one of the greatest poets who ever lived struggled with commas, many of us are infuriated by rogue apostrophes and other printed solecisms. How did this come to be?
Commas, semicolons and question marks are so commonplace it seems as if they were always there - but that's not the case. Keith Houston explains their history.
Punctuation is the art of clarifying how a group of words falls together into contractions, clauses, and sentences. Unfortunately, it is not at all clear h
The 61-year-old architect said he 'wanted to make a point' about aboriginal culture, colonialism, and 'the blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia'
Alison Flood: Graeme Reynolds's novel High Moor 2: Moonstruck was withdrawn when the site decided 100 hyphenated words in 90,000 ‘impacted the readability' of the book
The official transcript of the Declaration of Independence may contain an errant period that contributes to what one scholar calls a "routine but serious misunderstanding" of the document.
The nearly 16-mile stretch of Florida's Highway 98 that runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico coastline between Camp Helen State Park and the Hathaway Bridge is a prescriptivist consumer's wonderland. Better known to some as Panama City Beach Parkway, ...
George Eliot's em-dash — plus, T.S. Eliot's ellipses ... (not to mention Vladimir Nabokov's parentheses).
How that simple dot at the end of the sentence became something you use to tell people you're mad. Right. Now.
It's national punctuation day! How the quest of a father and son to invent a symbol for sarcasm became infamous. By Keith Houston.
From 17th-century France to digital emoticons, by way of kooky characters and spectacular failures. In Shady Characters: The Secret Life
On the face of it, punctuation is not the most electrifying of subjects. A comma is a comma, a period is a period, and a semicolon is an argument waiting to happen.
The stories behind the octothorpe, the pilcrow, the ampersand, the manicule, and the diple.
' Rarely at ease in its true habitat, the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe (YWA) is known to "peace out" of its obligation to indicate possession or con...