Author(s): David Crystal
Behind every punctuation mark lie 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 across the United States.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.
The triumphant new 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
Praise for David Crystal: 'Entertaining ... Crystal's many examples show that the development of English spelling is as random, unsystematic and anomalous as the British constitution. English spelling is as rich a mixture of anachronism, privilege and fashion as the House of Lords Sunday Times A prolific author ... he can write with authority on trends in the spelling of rhubarb and indeed on the history of the spelling of any tricky word you care to mention. For him, the patterns are clear ... highly entertaining Observer Crystal does an excellent job, not just of tracing the etymology of a word, but of relating it to social history, painting a picture of our times through words Independent on Sunday
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.