Social Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What's your favorite punctuation mark?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19031points) September 2nd, 2010

Aside from the period, what punctuation mark really tickles you?

I love parentheses. I always hate it when teachers tell me that “real” writers don’t use them very much – why do they exist if you can’t use them?

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47 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

There’s no question that I like the question mark.
“These” exist to give people something to b!tch about ;)

wgallios's avatar

I love semi colons ;

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille They just always have this air about them when they say that. Like “no one will ever publish your book or article if you use parentheses more than once in a hundred page span”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@wgallios I am so confused by the semi-colon. I thought I had it down, but then I got confused again.

isuppose's avatar


muppetish's avatar

Ugh. What’s wrong with parentheses? The em dash sees far more abuse (especially via those who insist that an em dash is a hyphen – it’s not!) I love parentheses and use them in both fiction and academic papers. Nothing wrong with them at all.

It’s also fun to see how much you can compound sentences {braces [brackets (parentheses)]}. I like playing around with them in my notes.

I’m also fond of ellipses. I like the word more than the punctuation mark itself. And I don’t understand the hate apostrophes get because I love ‘em. I’m quite possessive of them, in fact.

I’ve almost eliminated the exclamation point from my writing and try to limit my use of semi-colons. Nothing against the punctuation marks, but I was using them as a crutch too often. In poetry, however, everything is fair game.

Jeruba's avatar

The colon. When used properly, it is our most elegant mark.

It must also be used sparingly.

I also love this question. GQ, @papayalily.

Frenchfry's avatar

I like * sign. I like stars

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Jeruba What makes in elegant, in your opinion?

@muppetish For regular writing (fluther, stuff I write for class), are the hyphen and various dashes the same key?

Frenchfry's avatar

Wait is * a punctuation mark ? if not, Question mark is not bad .

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I also love the ellipse, because it allows me to write in the same voice that I use to talk. I saw Stephen Fry on Craig Ferguson about a month ago, and he said that kids today just can’t finish sentences, we’re always trailing off or adding “you know” or something. I thought, yep, that’s me!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Frenchfry Yes, it is called an asterisk. You can find a good list of modern-day punctuation marks here

Frenchfry's avatar

@papayalily I am sorry I could not remember the name , I had a mind block. Thanks.
Ooooo Section sign looks cool. Can you make a section sign on the keyboard?

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily They can be formed using the same key.

Hyphen: ”-”
Em Dash (two hyphens):—

Programs like Word should reformat two hyphens to form a dash (similar to Fluther.)

@Frenchfry The asterisk is a symbol or glyph. I was going to name ampersand as my favourite until I remembered it wasn’t a traditional “punctuation mark”. They’re both still lovely.

Gosh, I love Stephen Fry. Is that interview online?

isuppose's avatar

Eek. I forgot the ‘C’ in exclamations, and on a grammar thread too. How embarassing…

lillycoyote's avatar

I’ve really been enjoying the semi-colon lately; but previously, and I feel bad about demoting them, the parentheses were my favorite punctuation (they don’t have feelings, I know).

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish Wow, I never knew that word before, it was just “the and symbol” to me. Learning is fun! And sadly, I don’t say that sarcastically….

@isuppose It’s ok, I misspelled parentheses in the question and had to go back and edit it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Does anyone know if there’s a punctuation mark that’s sort of a half-exclamation point? I often want to use exclamation points for almost every sentence in a paragraph to denote emphasis, but then, of course, some end up having three or four exclamation points to denote the most emphasis, and by the time I get done, I sound like a 13-year old head cheerleader, and that’s just not at all what I’m going for.

Periods are just too boring sometimes.

liminal's avatar

I like the tilde ~ , honest. Of course, I really have no reason to use it unless I am being a smart ass on fluther.

lillycoyote's avatar

@liminal Yes, the tilde seems to be getting a lot of play on fluther lately.

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily Are you referring to dialogue in fiction? Or elsewhere? Either way, I’m not sure whether there is a midway punctuation mark, heh. I have a friend who prefers to compound punctuation to an insane degree to get his emotions across (Wow!!!!!!!! Hey!!!!!!!! That’s great!!!!!!) He’s not even kidding. I think it’s kind of cute.

When writing fiction, I can get around it more creatively. It would be neat if we had a Great Punctuation Shift to further emulate speech online.

rebbel's avatar

What you can do, on Fluther anyway, is this !

Blackberry's avatar

Hmmmmm, I like all of them! My reasoning is this: Written language is so diverse, one can’t help but appreciate the myriad aspects that help transform our written language to spoken language. I love when writing is so good it seems like it is someone actually talking. The perfect rhythm and flow of a correct sentence structure…....

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish Normally it’s more of a sharing-my-day thing, but really anywhere. I’ll try to think of a good example and I might PM you later on with it. I’ve tried to chill out with them, and when it’s casual like IMing, I can use emoticons (although I think emoticons are just a less literate form of punctuation in 85% of their usage…) but it’d be great if there was something.

I would LOVE a Great Punctuation Shift. It should include the interrobang (but spelled as interobang) as well as an irony symbol and a sarcasm symbol – two separate symbols, and not the backwards question mark.

TexasDude's avatar

Definitely the interrobang.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard If you had a key for it on your keyboard, would you use it?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Blackberry What’s the one that you like the most? Maybe you find yourself phrasing a sentence a certain way so that you can use it?

muppetish's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Interrobang sounds delightfully filthy.

Vortico's avatar

The Ampersand. The largest creative pipeline of a typographer.


TexasDude's avatar

@papayalily, what kind of question is that‽


@muppetish, I know… that’s part of the appeal!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Just checking. I’ve known those who liked it in theory, but not in practice.

muppetish's avatar

@Vortico Thanks for the link. If I weren’t chicken, I’d get an ampersand tattoo :) It’s just the loveliest symbol.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Interrobang ”‽” Of course.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The Ellipsis because I often have a pause in thought and want to express it in a typed sentiment. It also has other meanings, such as an omission in the middle of a list or statement. And sadly, it is often misused; it is only three dots.

@Jeruba Should the semicolon have been a colon?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer It is misused how?

Austinlad's avatar

Em-dash—I use it a lot.


I love using “dashes“like these——they help me put a small “pause” before I introduce something, or two ideas that are inter-related. I also like to use quotation marks ” to emphasize a point or a word.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES That’s an em-dash.


Lol….whatever, as long as it fulfills its function!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@papayalily An ellipsis consists of three dots and not two or four or more. “Misused” was not the right word on my part. “Mistyped” would have been more appropriate.

I also like the ampersand (&). There is something classy about it in appearance and possibly in what it represents: a partnership.

The ampersand does get misused, particularly since the advent of texting.

Blackberry's avatar

I guess I’ll pick the colon, because it catches the reader’s interest by showing that an important point is about to be made.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So emphatic!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Ah, ok, that’s what I thought.

What does a misused ampersand look like?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

An ampersand is, at least today, used to denote a partnership. Here are two examples:
* Mr.& Mrs. Papayalily and John Papayalily on an invitation. The ”&” denotes a couple, and the “and” as an extra person.
* Joel & Ethan Cohen and Barry Sonnenfeld as directors of a movie. Joel and Ethan are a team and Barry is a separate entity. I often see this general example in movie credits, which is probably what made me look it up years ago.

Misused would be, “John felt it was too hot outside & decided to stay inside instead.”

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Wow, thank God I asked. I guess I’ve been misusing it my whole life. I never knew about the partnership thing.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I am no expert and could very well be wrong. The rules seem to change throughout the years. I did, however, have a high school English teacher for a sister who was lethal with a red pen.

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