It’s National Punctuation Day!
What? You didn’t know such a day existed? Well, it does, and it is celebrated every year on September 24. In 2004, Jeff Rubin, a newsletter publisher and former reporter, founded the day because of his frustration over punctuation errors he spotted in newspapers.
In honor of the day, here are a few quirky punctuation facts:
- Before the printed word, punctuation didn’t exist. Voice tone and visual gestures were used in oral communication to clarify the meaning of the speaker’s words.
- The ampersand (&) was once considered the 27th letter of the alphabet.
- We know # as a number symbol, the pound sign or, thanks to social media, a hashtag. Actually, this symbol has an official name. It is called the octothorpe. Octo refers to the eight points in the symbol.
- Although the exclamation mark has been used for centuries, it did not get a key on the typewriter until the 1970s. Before that, you had to type a period. Then, you had to backspace and type an apostrophe above the period.
- Before the question mark existed, writers would write the word question at the end of their sentence. When that became cumbersome, writers wrote a Q at the end of their sentences to indicate it was a question. This eventually evolved into the symbol we use today.