6 Writers’ Favorite Punctuation Marks

R.L. Stine (of the Goosebumps books) on the em-dash: “When a moment of true horror arises in a novel, there’s no better punctuation than a —”

Drew Magary (of GQ, Deadspin, et al) on the period: “What kind of asshole doesn’t give the reader a break once in a while? Get me to the period so that I can take a moment to digest and go eat a Pop Tart or something.”

Kurt Loder (film critic & TV personality) on the ellipsis: “The ellipsis acknowledges that everything about any subject can never be said—that there is always the possibility of deeper contemplation, the promise of further nattering…”

Maureen Corrigan (NPR book critic) on the semicolon: “The semicolon is my psychological metaphor, my mascot. It’s the punctuation mark that qualifies, hesitates, and ties together ideas and parts of a life that shot off in different directions.”

Peter Sokolowski (Merriam Webster lexicographer) on the colon:  “My favorite is a dictionary-specific mark of punctuation: the symbolic colon (which is a boldface colon). This colon is what immediately precedes the definition in every Merriam-Webster dictionary, and was established by Philip B. Gove, Editor-in-Chief of Webster’s Third Unabridged Dictionary.”

Peter Sheidlower (editor-at-large of the OED) on the space: “The humble space is the punctuation mark to beat. [The rest] are all seasonings. The meat of it is the space, and if you’ve ever tried to read manuscripts from the era before the space was regularly used, you’ll know just how important it is. It’s what gives us words instead of a big lump.”

(Found at The Atlantic Wire.)

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