Love Letters to Punctuation Marks

Some people really get excited by punctuation, whether it’s an apostrophe, commas, ellipses…or exclamation points! Inspired by author Ben Greenman’s Web site compiling readers’ letters to fictional characters, Emily Gordon’s blog Emdashes recently solicited letters to readers’ favorite punctuation marks. The results were very silly. Some stand-outs:

Dear Pilcrow,

I never heard of you. I had to go look you up. Now it turns out that I have known you for a long, long time. You’re the one that tells people there’s a new paragraph in legal documents. You should be proud of yourself. That is very useful. How do you make you? How do I make you is what I mean? Oh, option and then 7 works? Delightful. Nice to meet you.

Dearest Oxford Comma,

I never write letters like this, but I just had to write to tell you what a big fan I am. I just adore your work. You keep lists so very orderly, just like I like them. […]

I remain your loving, faithful, and devoted fan,
Dear Quotation Mark.

Do you ever have any ideas of your own?

Dear Semicolon:

I wish you came with an instruction manual; knowing when to use you can be tricky. You have so many uses: to separate closely linked independent clauses, two ideas that barely need a breath between them; to separate items in a list, items that may include commas or other punctuation; or for independent clauses with a conjunctive word or phrase. The last use is my favorite; however, I don’t often get the chance to show it off.

Thinking of you, always; using you less so,
Dear Hyphen,

I really enjoy putting you in places you don’t belong. Never lose your bringing-it-all-together spirit. Have a great-but-not-so-great-that-you-turn-into-a-tilde summer!

With down-on-my-knees love like Otis Redding,

Feel free to add your own in comments. And for punctuation dorks, Ben Greenman’s post on McSweeney’s, “Short Imagined Monologue: I Am the Period at the End of This Paragraph” is also definitely worth a read.

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner