Mighty Red Pen

September 23, 2008

Happy National Punctuation Day!

Filed under: Perilous punctuation — mighty red pen @ 7:08 pm
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So September 24 marks National Punctuation Day, a day when we can celebrate “the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever mysterious ellipsis.” But really, aren’t those things we can celebrate any day?

In honor of the day, please share: which is your favorite punctuation mark and why? Also, check out Editrix, who interviews writerly and editorial types for a regular feature called “5 Questions,” of which one of the questions is “What punctuation mark are you fondest of?”

And if anyone makes the official National Punctuation Day meatloaf, please report back.



  1. I just posed the same question in my post about National Punctuation Day! My favorite mark is the dash – I like it for many of the same reasons given in the Editrix interviews.

    Comment by Blue Pencil Editing — September 24, 2008 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  2. I love the interrobang because of it’s utility and because it has the best name of all the punctuation marks. Plus, if you speak Spanish and use the interrobang, you also get to use the gnaborretni (which is, of course, interrobang backwards) as the upside-down version of this vital mark.

    For more nifty facts, I suggest Wikipedia’s entry on the topic.

    The interrobang: isn’t it nifty?!

    Comment by David — September 24, 2008 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  3. […] Happy National Punctuation Day! 14 hours ago […]

    Pingback by » national punctuation day — September 24, 2008 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  4. Sorry, the mere thought of meatloaf makes me want to… bleh.

    Comment by Kasey — September 24, 2008 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  5. I’m torn–I use the em dash pretty frequently and am wholeheartedly convinced of its awesomeness, but I’m partial to the interrobang as well, mostly because it’s the punctuation equivalent of “WTF!?”

    Comment by Steph — September 25, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  6. I had never known the interrobang had a name, and I bet that most people wouldn’t know that word either. I suppose it’s the punctuation mark that dare not speak its name.

    Comment by FBGD — September 25, 2008 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  7. While I admire the interrobang’s inventiveness and utility, I confess to being a bit of a purist. I do not actually recognize it formally as punctuation.

    It’s sort of “slang punctuation.”

    (and smilies are “compound punctuation”)

    I love the en dash. Just because you really have to be a word geek to use it most times.

    Comment by TootsNYC — September 25, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  8. Don’t know about favourite, but my least favourite at the moment is the em dash. It’s too clunky and old fashioned – the en dash’s shambling uncle, perhaps. Mind you, I think the em dash is less widely used in the UK than in the US. Maybe?

    Comment by JD — September 26, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  9. Colons rule: you can’t deny this. And why can’t the semi-colon get any love?

    Comment by helen's dad — September 26, 2008 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  10. This is my 2nd year making the Punctutation Day meatloaf. I actually use my own recipe, but I do put it in the shape of a ?. Last year my kids thought I was a little crazy, but in the end, I won a document camera, partly due to the meatloaf. Our school had a contest to see who could be the most creative on Punctuation Day, and thanks to the meatloaf and other ideas, I won!

    Comment by Melinda — September 6, 2009 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

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