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Making a Point

The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation

David Crystal

St. Martin's Press

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ISBN10: 1250060419
ISBN13: 9781250060419

Hardcover

400 Pages

$24.99

CA$28.99

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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.

Reviews

Praise for Making a Point

"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)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

David Crystal

DAVID CRYSTAL is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, 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. He lives in the United Kingdom.

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