The triumphant third volume in David Crystal's classic series on the English language combines the first history of English punctuation with a complete guide to how to use it - now in paperback.
This 'engaging history of punctuation' (Wall Street Journal) is not only the first history of its kind, but a complete guide on how to use English punctuation.
Behind every punctuation mark lies a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error.
Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and commonsense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.
David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor. His many books range from clinical linguistics to the liturgy and Shakespeare. He is the author of The Story of English in 100 Words and Spell It Out: The Singular History of English Spelling, both published by Profile. His Stories of English is a Penguin Classic.
Writing & Language
Paperback - B format
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Usage & grammar guides