Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
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Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Competition Point: Which Punctuation Mark Is Loved the Most?

Filed under: Headline Shooter   Tagged: , , , , ,

Aristophanes of Byzantium, head of the Great Library of Alexandria in the 2nd century B.C., is considered by scholars to be the inventor of punctuation. Aristophanes created a scheme for notating texts that that included a proto-period, proto-comma, and proto-semicolon.

Aristophanes: this new recount of our punctuation contest, to win Ben Greenman’s new book, What He’s Poised to Do, is for you.

We have received many wonderful, creative, funny, sad, and inspiring letters. Ellipsis remains the leader with 16 letters of love… People love it a lot. Semicolon follows close behind with 12; semicolon is second but not secondary. The exclamation point is third!

The current high rankings:

Ellipsis: 16
Semicolon: 12
Exclamation Point: 9
Apostrophe: 8
Comma: 7
Period/Full stop: 7
Question Mark: 5
Quotation Marks: 5
Ampersand: 4
Asterisk: 4
Parentheses: 4
At sign: 3
Colon: 3
Interrobang: 3
Tilde: 3
Grawlixes: 3
Em dash: 2
Manicule: 2
En Dash: 2
Copyright symbol: 2
Hyphen: 2
All punctuation marks: 2
Number sign: 2
Brackets: 2

From the “At Least I Got One Letter Department”:

accent aigu, air quotes, at-the-price-of, bullet, caret, curly quotes, dieresis, dollar sign, exclaquestion mark, interpunct, macron, obelisk (dagger), Oxford comma, percent sign, pilcrow, pound sign, smart quotes, snark, space, underline.

From the “No One Loves Me Department”:

asterism, backslash, degree, ditto mark, double hyphen, inverted exclamation point, guillemets, lozenge, the “therefore” and “because” signs, slash, solidus, tie, prime, registered trademark, section sign, service mark, sound recording copyright symbol, trademark, underscore/understrike, vertical bar, pipe, tee, falsum, index/fist, lozenge.

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