Posts Tagged: punctuation

Exclamation Points Are Feminist!

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Friendly emails are a sign of progress, not weakness, in our working lives. Policing women’s use of language is over (we wish). But at the Huffington Post, Angelina Chapin argues that women’s use of exclamation marks in the workplace represents a subversion of masculinist notions about leadership.

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The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with David Rivard

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David Rivard discusses his new collection Standoff, writing as both a public and private act, the interiority of reading, and Pokémon GO.

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You’d Prefer Not To

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The Internet has been abuzz with grammatically incorrect chatter since the New York Times recently published an article heralding the end of the period. But Flavorwire’s Jonathon Sturgeon doesn’t expect that little dot to go anywhere anytime soon: Bilefsky’s piece — or any long piece without periods — is like a car without brakes. You […]

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Serial Commas, Subordinate Clauses, and the New Yorker

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Mary Norris has a gift for your favorite grammarian in this week’s New Yorker: a detailed account of comma policy from a veteran copyeditor. The magazine is notorious for its meticulous house style (where else do you still see a diaeresis over the word coördinate?), which it owes to Mensa-level punctuator Eleanor Gould and her […]

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A Parenthetical Suffering

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According to Christopher Benfey, literature has a long history of writers including characters’ personal struggles in parentheses within the text. To learn how that worked in Nabokov’s “Lolita” or Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse” (and to discover that there’s an entire study on the subject), check out Benfey’s essay on the New York Review of Books‘s blog.

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The Decline of Punctuation?!…

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We live in a heyday of punctuation. “Call this what you will—exclamatory excess, punctuation inflation, the result of the Internet’s limitless expanse—it is everywhere,” writes Megan Garber at the Atlantic. But perhaps not for long—with the rise of image-based expression like emoji and gifs, we are finding new ways to express ourselves, and we’re leaving […]

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The Pleasure of Perfectly Positioned Punctuation

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As conscientious writers know, punctuation can make all the difference in a sentence, sculpting mush into meaning or cluing the reader in to nuances of intonation. Vulture’s Kathryn Schulz has compiled some of literature’s most effective and memorable instances of punctuation, from Nabokov’s parenthetical “(picnic, lightning)” to the ellipses in T. S. Eliot’s “The Love […]

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The Punctuation Problem

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We didn’t know there was one until Slate‘s Matthew Malady pointed out the limitations of English punctuation. Look, I’m the last one to encourage the excessive use of exclamation points. But if we are going to use them—and they do come in handy from time to time—we should at least do so in a way […]

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