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:
Exclamation Point: 9
Period/Full stop: 7
Question Mark: 5
Quotation Marks: 5
At sign: 3
Em dash: 2
En Dash: 2
Copyright symbol: 2
All punctuation marks: 2
Number sign: 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.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, an editor, critic, copywriter, and pre-web internet nut. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent many years as a New Yorker fan blog. The project garnered some nice compliments and press.
The blog’s now treading the territories of punctuation, publications, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a brilliant brigade of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Jennifer Hadley designed the original Emdashes pencil logo, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.