The Red Pen: Perfectly Peculiar Punctuation

The rise of texting may have brought about the downfall of punctuation…but these rarely-used marks are sure to bring a little dash of whimsy to your manuscript.

The Manicule

manicule

It’s vintage! It’s retro! It’s…the manicule! Hipster writers will party like it’s 1599 if they bring back the manicule (☞), that little index finger-pointing hand that you sometimes see on vintage signage. Think of it like the bookmark of the Renaissance, used to draw attention to a place in the text.

The Interrobang

Interrobang.jpg

In today’s fast-paced flash-news world, the sudden startle of the interrobang (‽) begs a big comeback. Half question mark, half exclamation point (think of all the tabloid headlines you’ve read that have warranted this mark), it takes some extreme finger calisthenics to wrangle this one from your keyboard—but for sheer effect, it’s worth it.

The Ironieteken

irony

Past typographic attempts at showing irony came and went. The ironieteken, a lightning-shaped exclamation point of a snark (Ironieteken.svg) came into play about ten years ago when the need for formal punctuation to recognize irony again became apparent. On the other hand, doesn’t calling attention to irony just sort of suck all the enjoyment out of it?

The Hedera

hedera

In a far more graceful age, the hedera (❦) was used as a paragraph break between long stretches of text. Eventually, the ivy leaf-shaped symbol just graduated to décor status, but it deserves a rally: this most genteel of glyphs gives new meaning to the “art” of writing.

TheRedPenMer1

 

Merry Gordon is silently correcting your grammar. A freelance editor and writer, Merry also has nearly two decades of experience teaching English at the high school and junior college level.

 

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