The triumphant concluding volume in David Crystal's classic trilogy on the English language combines the first history of English punctuation with a complete guide on how to use it. 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 organizations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error across the United States. Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity, and commonsense. In David Crystal's Making a Point, he gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia and offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.
"After the historical overview, Making the Point shifts gears: it becomes equal parts practicum and commentary, usage manual and style guide."—The New Yorker
"His central argument, buttressed by countless well-chosen examples and enlivened by the odd whimsical digression, is that neither a phonetic, nor a semantic, nor a grammatical account of our punctuation system is singly sufficient. Those hoping to make punctuation logically consistent are chasing a will o’ the wisp–and ignoring the aesthetics and the pragmatics of practice. But nor is it a complete free-for-all. There are discoverable rules, or at least workable generalisations, about how punctuation functions. However, they are discoverable by the study of usage rather than from old school textbooks."—The Guardian (UK)